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‘He Truly Went to Heaven’: Friends and Family Remember Loyola Student Eden Chung

All photos courtesy of Joram ChungEden was a first-year at Loyola, studying information systems in the Quinlan School of Business.

Friends and family are mourning the death of Loyola first-year student Eden Chung, who died in late May as a result of a car accident, officials said.

Eden, a 19-year-old information systems major died due to injuries from the accident, which occurred May 27 in Roselle — a northwest Chicago suburb — according to a spokesperson for the Cook County Medical Examiner.   

He and three others were on the way home from a weekend retreat when the driver of the car, Joseph Hung Joon Kim, 22, fell asleep at the wheel, according to a report released by Matthew Boerwinkle, a spokesperson for the Illinois State Police. The car went off the road and struck a pole head-on, the report stated, killing Eden and another passenger. 

Eden’s brother Joram Chung described Eden as tough and honest.

“Everything good about a person, he had,” Joram, 29, said. “He knew how to stick up for himself …. He did all the chores, [and] he never fought back. Everything I asked him to do, or if I needed help, he was there.”

Eden and his older brother were 10 years apart in age.

Both born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents from Korea, Joram said he and Eden had a unique relationship because they were 10 years apart. He said he helped change Eden’s diapers and cook his food, and had to step up even more after their mother died in 2012.

Joram said he considered himself a “mom” to Eden. 

“If he did something wrong, he didn’t need to tell me [because] I already knew,” Joram said. “Like how a mom would know what her child is doing behind her back, I had that connection with Eden.” 

Joram said food was one of Eden’s biggest passions.

One of Eden’s good friends from Los Angeles, Justin Yoo, said hearing about Eden’s passing was a shock, but he’ll remember how Eden tried not to take life for granted. 

“As cheesy as that sounds, he didn’t complain … and he’s had some really, really tough times,” Yoo, 18, said. 

Sean Park, another friend from Los Angeles, said he’ll remember Eden’s humor and courage. 

“He’s very courageous for withstanding a lot of the tragedy he had to face in his life, and that’s one thing I did look up to Eden for,” the 18-year-old said.

“I think he really wanted me to know and be comforted at the fact that he truly went to heaven.”

Joram recalled the feeling after receiving a call from the police saying his brother was on the way to the emergency room.

“The moment that I heard Eden was in surgery, my body started to shake, I was so scared, like ‘What’s going on?’” Joram said. 

Eden was in surgery for several hours, then put on life support, his brother said. He passed away around 2:00 a.m. the following morning, after being visited by a priest in his hospital room. 

“I think he really wanted me to know and be comforted at the fact that he truly went to heaven,” Joram said. 

Due to their father’s time-consuming job, Eden moved to Vernon Hills during his freshman year of high school to live with Joram — who had just graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago and now works in real estate.

Eden chose Loyola because of the information systems major, Joram said.

After graduating high school, Joram said Eden chose to go to Loyola because of the information systems major offered by the Quinlan School of Business. 

Although Eden was a student in the business school, friends and family said food was one of his biggest passions — both cooking and eating it. 

“When I would come home, he would be cooking,” Joram said. “He loved to experiment with food, [and] I made sure he got all the ingredients he needed …. He would let me try something, and I never agreed to the taste, but it was unique, I’ll tell you that.”

Sonia Stachurski, a sophomore at Loyola who was good friends with Eden, said he told her any money he had, he wanted to spend on food. 

“Whenever we discussed food and stuff, he would always talk about the quality and it was down to the very fine details,” the 19-year-old international business major said. “He loved really quality food — not like McDonalds — he liked four-star restaurants.”

“It doesn’t matter what the situation was, he was the one to make everyone happy.”

Avinash Nathan attended Vernon Hills High School with Eden and said Eden was the first one to ask to hang out when they met.

Eden also enjoyed playing video games, such as League of Legends, according to Stachurski. She and another Loyola friend, Jon Go, both met Eden at the first meeting of Loyola’s E-Sports Club — an on-campus club for video gaming — at the beginning of their first year at school.

Nathan also said Eden had a passion for video games throughout high school, especially ones on his phone.

“There’s this phone game [called Rules of Survival] that we used to play, that he actually used to be really good at, and every day at lunch [senior year] we would play it,” Nathan said. 

Go said Eden would often brighten up the room with how happy and kind he was. The information technology major recalled one evening when he, Eden and other members of the E-sports club went to dinner, and Eden offered to pay for a friend’s dinner, despite joking about how he never had any cash on him. 

Friends and family of Eden said he loved playing video games.

“It doesn’t matter what the situation was, he was the one to make everyone happy,” the 19-year-old sophomore said. 

Stachurski described Eden as caring and sincere. She said one of the most memorable nights with Eden was one early in their friendship when the two of them went downtown for dinner. 

“We took the ‘L’ and we went to downtown Chicago, and we got sushi and frozen yogurt,” Stachurski said. “It was just really good to get to know him without the whole group there because we were just talking the whole night.”

Stachurski said it’s been hard to think about Eden, especially when she plays some of his favorite video games, but she’s feeling better with time. 

Go said hearing about Eden’s death was a “tragic moment,” and he said it’s been hard for him to accept that he would never see Eden — who he considered the brother he never had — again.

“There were just so many similar things about us, from the way we dress, our birthdays — which were only one day apart — a lot of the interests we shared, a lot of the jokes we made …. it’s like a part of me is missing now,” Go said.

An email from Campus Ministry notifying the community of Eden’s death offered resources for Loyola community members. On Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, Wellness Center (773.508.2530) and Campus Ministry (773.508.2200) staff are available to assist students individually.

On the Health Sciences Campus, University Ministry (708.216.3245) and Student Affairs (708.216.3220) employees are available for those seeking resources or counseling, the email stated. Perspectives is available at any time by calling 800.456.6327. For online resources, go to SAPlogin.perspectivesltd.com and enter username: LUC500 and password: perspectives.

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Assistant News Editor

Madison Savedra is an assistant news editor at The Phoenix, majoring in political science and minoring in Spanish. Madison, a junior, began as a news writer during the 2018-2019 school year. Originally from Missouri, she enjoys drinking excessive amounts of coffee and arguing with anyone who will listen that dogs and cats are equally amazing pets.

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