REST IN PEACE
November 11, 2018
SOO, Francis A Man for Others Francis Soo's life can be defined by his dedication to the Jesuit ideal of being "A man for others." Whether as a family member, friend, teacher, or countless other roles he played, he selflessly gave all he could to help those around him. He showed his love and caring in many ways, by lending a sympathetic ear, extra support to a student, or faithfully protecting his family. Francis (Frank) was born in Xuzhou, China on January 1, 1938; he liked to say he gave everyone a holiday. He was baptized a Catholic at an early age and escaped from China in 1956. After joining the Jesuit order and pursuing study in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan, he was ordained in 1971, and in the fall of that year, he came to Boston. He began graduate studies at Harvard University in classical Chinese history. There he met Margaret (Peggy) Hackenberger, another graduate student whom he would eventually marry. He then earned a Ph.D. at Boston College, where, upon completion, he became a professor of philosophy. He remained a fixture in the Boston College philosophy department for more than 30 years, where he specialized in classical Chinese philosophy and Eastern thought. He especially cherished his time at the Woods College of Advancing Studies, where he encouraged countless people to study and taught his popular class,
Marriage and the Family. Frank was a devoted husband and father. He and Peggy raised two sons. His family is grateful that he was able to see his sons marry and meet his first two grandchildren. Greater than any academic successes, he often said that his greatest achievement was his family. Frank felt strongly about maintaining his connection to his family and the academic community in China. Even before technology improved, he made it a priority to stay in touch with relatives and scholars. He made several trips to his native country, most recently in 2013. In keeping with his commitment to education, he made it possible for several family members and other Chinese scholars to pursue study in the US. He passed away peacefully on November 11, 2018. He is survived by his beloved wife of 41 years, Peggy, and sons David and Jeffrey, along with their spouses Jerold Callam and Rachel Smooke, and his grandchildren Madeline and Miles Callam; and many nieces, nephews, and other family members. A Memorial Mass and celebration of life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on December 1, 2018 at Gasson Hall 100 at Boston College. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College in honor of Professor Francis Soo (www.bc.edu/give and note his name and the Woods College). Please share your stories of Frank at www.thesoos.org.