To meet him was to love him. He was Steven Yu, a modern-day renaissance man. Gifted physically in martial arts, spiritually as a practitioner of Chi, intellectually as a civil engineer, and a highly accomplished restauranteur. He was witty, charming, and talented. Steve played the guitar, loved to sing (he had a beautiful deep voice), gardened, and was a real handyman and at times a fortune-teller. He was a great dancer, a skilled calligrapher (nearly a lost art!) and enjoyed playing mahjong, blackjack and poker (and lady luck was often by his side). Steve also juggled, made origami tiger lilies, and practiced archery. Additionally, he relished praising friends and acquaintances with poetry.
Steve, age 75, passed away on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at his home in his wife’s loving arms, with his daughter and son-in-law by his side. Steve lived a full life. Born in Chongqing, China to the late Chen Yu and Kuan Chun Chen, Steven’s parents immigrated their family to Taiwan when he was five years old. He was the sixth of nine siblings, raised and educated in Taiwan. He studied civil engineering and after graduating he began working for the government and designed several prominent tunnels.
In 1980 Steve and his family of five immigrated to the United States. Steve felt America would offer a better life for his three young children. It did, and he was always so proud to have his two sons serve in the U.S. Navy, both Lieutenants; one served on a destroyer and the other was a pilot. His eldest son graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and his daughter and youngest son graduated from Rutgers University.
Steven had plans to continue his work as a civil engineer in America, but circumstances prevented him from attending the necessary schooling. As a result, he began to work in the family restaurant in Maryland where he quickly learned the business. Not long after, Steven and his brothers started their own restaurant in Maryland. Steven and his family later moved to New Jersey where he opened his own restaurant, Ting Hao Dragon in Basking Ridge and later the Greenhouse China Gourmet in Chatham. Oftentimes Steve would delight his customers with fruit and vegetable carvings of flowers and dragons.
He adored his four grandchildren and he was proud of his two daughters-in-law and his son-in-law. Steve was grateful to his wife of 48 years for her enduring love, kindness, and her patience in always taking such good care of him, especially in his final years.
Prior to his illness, Steve enjoyed working with his hands. He single-handedly built his shed, renovated his home with the help of his sons, and made wooden deer and even gifted some to friends. Additionally, he loved entertaining and hosting dinner parties.
Twenty years ago, Steve began attending and volunteering at the New Jersey Buddhist Culture Center in South Plainfield, which quickly became an important part of his life. There, he developed many lasting friendships and cultivated compassion which is the essence of Buddhism. He will forever remain a Buddhist disciple.
Steve usually wore a fedora or a proud U.S.A. beanie. He was very strong and courageous in battling his illness. Steven was known as a generous and selfless person – a man who would sacrifice his happiness to make others happy. He will be missed by all.
Steven is survived by his loving wife Lancy; two sons, Davey (Maria) and Jerry (Doreen); a daughter, Ellen (Michael); four grandchildren (Liam, Angelina, Ava, and Ethan); two elder sisters, Susan and Jui; and two younger brothers, Tom and Danny.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Steven C. Yu’s honor to the New Jersey Buddhist Culture Center’s renovation fund. http://www.ibps.org/newjersey/english/aboutus.asp
Checks can be made to the New Jersey Buddhist Culture Center and mailed to:
1007 New Brunswick Ave.,
South Plainfield, NJ 07080
For more information:
June 11th, 2020 Itinerary
9:30-11:30 a.m. – Funeral home will be open to family and friends, but only 15 people can rotate in and out of the room at a time. Please be patient and wait in the parking lot for your turn.
10 a.m. – Live Streaming Starts
Family and friends can join by watching the service outside in the parking lot or in the comfort of their home. This will be recorded. Here's the link:
10 a.m. – Remarks
10:30 a.m. – Buddhist service will start with just the Venerable (Buddhist monk) and the immediate family. When the service reaches the point of repeating “Na Mo Amitofo” some family members will walk outside and allow others to enter.
Friends who wish to pay their respects can walk in, pick up a flower, walk around the casket, and then place the flower in a vase. Once everyone has paid their respects (or at 11:30 a.m.) the Venerable will give notice to close the casket.
Once the casket is closed, the casket will be rolled out front to the hearse. Friends can line up outside along the path and continue chanting to see the casket off.
11:30 a.m. - Leave for the crematorium.
12 p.m. – Short service (15 minutes) at the crematorium.
The casket will be rolled inside while the Funeral Director will lead the Venerable and congregation of family and friends (25 total) to an outside window to observe the cremation chamber. The Venerable will continue to lead everyone in a chant of “Na Mo Amitofo” or “Amitofo”.
We urge everyone who wishes to attend in person to take appropriate precautions including the wearing of masks and gloves and maintaining a safe distance from others. As the weather may call for rain, please bring an umbrella. You may also wish to bring a bottle of water to remain hydrated. Bathroom facilities will be available.
For those who cannot attend in person, we welcome you to join the service online:
The funeral will be held at The Higgins Funeral Home at 752 Mountain Blvd in Warren, NJ. https://higginsfuneralhome.com
The cremation will take place at the Somerset Hills Memorial Park at 95 Mt. Airy Road in Basking Ridge, NJ. http://shmpcemetery.com/wordpress/