My soulmate is at peace. Mom asked me to write her obituary just weeks ago. In true Tae Sun fashion, she made special requests for her funeral. For some reason though, she wouldn’t tell me what to include in her obituary. She only said, “I trust you.” Although my heart is shattered, my body, mind & soul are filled with light, love & respect for my beautiful mom.
Tae Sun Eklund, 58, died peacefully on March 9, 2013 at her home in Cibolo, Texas surrounded by family and best friends. Her 9-month cancer battle was marked by her beautiful courage, giving spirit, unwavering faith and witty one-liners. Even during her hardest days, Tae Sun continued worrying about everyone else, making traditional Korean soups for visitors and creating gift baskets for doctors. Making others smile was her passion until her final days. In fact, she’d tell us to stop crying right now because it causes wrinkles.
She was born on April 21, 1954 in Namwon City, South Korea. Tae Sun was the oldest of 5 children of her late parents Ho-Youn Hwang and Bu-Nam Cho. Her bravery, boldness and smarts were evident at only 3 years old, when she started kindergarten. Tae Sun was always ahead of the class and excelled in everything she studied, including a brief medical career in South Korea. As a nurse’s assistant, Tae Sun cared for patients in an orthopedic surgery wing; calling it a fulfilling time of her life.
In 1975, Tae Sun decided to make another dream come true by moving to the United States. With a Korean-English dictionary, small savings and strong will, she set out to bring her entire family to America. That eventually became a reality in the late 1980s, when Tae Sun brought her parents and siblings to Fairbanks, Alaska to help them accomplish their own goals.
Alaska was one of the many places Tae Sun called home. She planted roots throughout the world: Mountain Home, ID; Denver, CO; Oxford, England; Edwards Air Force Base, California; Okinawa, Japan; Del Rio, Texas; Eielson AFB, Alaska; and finally, the San Antonio area. She was extremely proud to be an Air Force wife.
Tae Sun held many jobs (from a music DJ to a daycare owner) and had a long-time career as a project manager for a government contract on Eielson AFB, working tirelessly to support family. Her work ethic is something we’ll never forget, but she didn’t want to be remembered by what she did for a living. Instead, how she lived for others. Her volunteer accomplishments include teaching Sunday school at First Korean Presbyterian Church, organizing Vacation Bible School camps, serving as President of Korean American Association of San Antonio and being a long-time member of the Korean American Institute for Human Rights. Somehow, she still made time to attend Bible studies, nurture friends in need and host traveling Koreans to stay in her home.
Her husband David and daughters Cindy and Jessica were her ultimate pride and joy. Tae Sun was not only a wife and mother, but also their best friend who led by example. She instilled in them to love God, be true to others and work every day at being a better person. Those strong morals will undoubtedly be passed onto Luke Emmons, Tae Sun’s first grandchild due April 6. Grandma Tae Sun’s lessons will continue as her family grows.
Tae Sun was known for her tough love: constantly nagging loved ones to eat more, drive carefully, get off your cell phone and sit up straight. Her tender heart intertwined perfectly with her sassy personality earning her the nickname “Tae Sizzle.”
Tae Sun left behind a legacy: husband of 27 years David Eklund, Cindy Cieluch Ohman (Matthew); Jessica Emmons (John-Austin & Luke); Sandra Cieluch; sister Chung Soon Lim (Chang Sik); sister Chung Im Wiseman (Al); sister Jae In Kim (Kevin, Jonathan & Andrew); brother In Kwan Hwang (Aggie), parents-in-law David & Joan Eklund, brother-in-law Steve (Terry, Rachel, Zac & Shiloh); her faithful dogs Bailee, Parker & Beauxgey and numerous family members. Her husband describes her as selfless, her siblings consider her a hero and her daughters will forever miss their soulmate.
In the last message her family received before she passed away, a niece described Tae Sun simply and perfectly: “There really is no one like you.”