On Monday March 26, 2018, Han Chun Choi, age 52, passed away peacefully after a valiant battle with cancer.
Born in Gangneung, South Korea on January 25, 1966, Han immigrated as a toddler with his parents eventually settling in Little Rock, Arkansas. After graduating salutatorian of Little Rock's John L. McClellan High School in 1984, Han attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he graduated with honors as a religion major in 1988. His passion for improving the lives of others steered him toward a career in government service. Shortly after graduating, Han joined the staff of then-Governor Bill Clinton. Han accompanied Clinton on his travels throughout Arkansas, eventually becoming a policy advisor to the Governor.
On Governor Clinton's urging, Han attended law school. After graduating from Emory University School of Law with honors in 1993, he joined the public and corporate finance practice group of King & Spalding in Atlanta. During his time there he became smitten with Catherine Abrams, a young registered nurse working at the Grady Infectious Disease Program, whom he married on May 17, 1997.
Han was a successful attorney, widely known and respected by his peers throughout the United States and South Korea. Recognized as a trailblazer, Han became one of the first Asian-American partners in a large law firm. Ultimately, he became one of the first Asian-American office managing partners of an American Lawyer top 100 law firm, Ballard Spahr, a firm about which he cared deeply and where he continued to work until his final days.
Beyond his clients, Han channeled his seemingly boundless energy serving his community, volunteering for several non-profit organizations, including serving on the boards of the Korean American Bar Association of Georgia (which he helped found), the International Association of Korean Lawyers, the Georgia Center for Nonprofits (former chair), the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (former chair), the Decatur Education Foundation, and the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia. He completed many hours of pro bono work for the International Women's House where Catherine served on the board. Han was a member of North Avenue Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon and on the Endowment Committee.
Han's commitment to the growth and development of young Asian Americans and Asian American attorneys was unparalleled. Han worked countless hours as a volunteer, officer, and board member of the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Associations (GAPABA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Associations (NAPABA) and the Korean American Bar Association of Georgia. His two decades of care for these organizations and their members had profound and positive impacts on the lives of so many young people.
Han's broad grin, spontaneous laugh, and everlasting optimism were infectious. Han shared his extraordinary zest for life with others to the fullest. He enjoyed running, golfing, traveling, and crossword puzzles. A War Eagle through marriage, Han wholeheartedly cheered on the Auburn Tigers.
Han is survived by his wife Catherine Abrams and their three children, Christopher, David and Hannah. He is also survived by his parents, Tom and Susie Choi, his sister Angie Choi, and his in-laws, Aubray and Judy Abrams.
A celebration of Han's life will be held on Sunday, April 15th at 3:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, 1328 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to either the NAPABA Law Foundation's Han C. Choi Annual Scholarship Fund (visit www.napabalawfoundation.org/foundation-scholarships
) or the Decatur Education Foundation's Han C. Choi Memorial Scholarship (visit www.decatureducationfoundation.org
Choi, Han Chun
Published by Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Apr. 11 to Apr. 12, 2018.