Beloved mother of John and Elizabeth, loving wife of Kaiqi, grandmother to Fred and Tommy, sister to Shu Fen, aunt to Danielle. International graduate student, nurse, lifelong teacher and friend to countless others, Shu Ji Chen lived a full and meaningful life. On January 18, 2022, our dear Shu Ji passed away peacefully at Toronto Western Hospital, after a brave struggle with both COVID and end stage liver cancer.    

Born in Fujian, China on October 13, 1955 into a scholarly family, Shuji possessed a lifelong passion for knowledge, truth and innovation. Her father Chen Gong Min, a principal, and mother Weng Yu Sheng, a teacher, inspired in her an indomitable will, spirit and work ethic which she carried through her life and passed on to her family. Excelling in school, her education was interrupted, first by her mother’s death of liver cancer when Shu Ji was just 17, and then by the country-wide Cultural Revolution, which shuttered schools and universities. 

During the Cultural Revolution, Shu Ji worked as a school nurse, where she met Kai Qi Chen. It was love at first sight, and Kai Qi, 7 years her senior, agreed to wait for Shu Ji to pursue her dreams before marrying her. Shu Ji kept her dream alive, and pushed Kai Qi, as well as her brother Shu Fen, to also return to higher education once the Cultural Revolution had subsided. She purchased textbooks for all of them and urged them to study and all three were able to secure entrances into universities: Kai Qi at Fuzhou Normal College for Chinese literature, and Shu Fen at Fuzhou University for civil engineering. Affectionately called “big sister” by her classmates, Shu Ji was recognized for her seriousness and studiousness and graduated in the 1983 class of Fujian Normal University (the “cradle of teachers”) where she studied biology. 

After both graduating from higher education and starting new jobs as high school teachers, Shuji and Kaiqi celebrated by getting married in 1983. In 1984, they welcomed their first daughter Zhi Hong (Elizabeth) into their lives. The urge to study and learn more remained strong with Shu Ji and in 1990, she came to Canada to study abroad. As an international graduate student and research assistant, Shu Ji studied and worked at many universities in the country, including University of Waterloo, York University, and University of Victoria.

After 5 long years of separation, Shu Ji and husband Kai Qi and daughter Zhi Hong were finally reunited in 1995 when the visa sponsorship was approved. In 1996, son Zhi Wei (John) was born and Shu Ji stayed home to teach and raise the kids full time. Shu Ji also became an aunt to Danielle, and Shu Fen later moved his family to Scarborough. Over the next two decades in Canada, Shu JI observed many sad and happy moments including the death of her father, university graduation of both her children, health struggles, the birth of two grandchildren Fred and Tommy, and son John’s acceptance into medical school. In her later life, she enjoyed simple pleasures, like reading books in the garden, walking to the local community centre and library and watching television dramas. In 2014, Shu Ji returned to teaching at Sun Yat Sen School at the Chinese Canadian Intercultural Association in downtown Toronto.

Shu Ji leaves behind her husband of 38 years, her son John and daughter Elizabeth, two grandchildren and various friends. Throughout her life, she spent the majority of her time on her children and family, providing advice, comfort and support to them to ensure they had every opportunity to succeed. She will live on in their hearts and memories forever.

Due to the current pandemic restrictions and direction from our regulator, the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, effective January 5, 2022 all guests attending funerals and visitations must pre schedule their attendance in order to prevent line ups or exceed current capacity limits. Please contact the family for service information or to reserve a spot for services.

Livestream of Services for the late Shu Ji Chen

Passcode - 914923

约翰(John) 和伊丽莎白(Elizabeth)深爱的母亲,开棋的爱妻,弗雷德(Fred)和汤姆(Tommy)的外祖母,书奋的姐姐,丹黎儿的姑妈,国际研究生、护士、终身教师和无数人的朋友,陈书姬的一生是充实而有意义的。2022年1月18日,我们亲爱的陈书姬在与新冠肺炎和肝癌晚期作勇敢的斗争后,在多伦多西方医院安详地离开了人世。

在文化大革命期间,书姬担任学校的护士,在那里她遇到了陈开棋。她对陈开棋一见钟情,大她7岁的陈开棋同意等书姬完成自己的梦想后再与她结婚。书姬一直保持着她的梦想,并推动陈开棋和她的弟弟书奋在文化大革命平息后也回到高等教育中。她为他们所有人购买了教科书,并敦促他们学习,确保三个人都能够进入大学。开棋在福州师范学院学习中国文学,书奋在福州大学学习土木工程。书姬被同学们亲切地称为 "大姐",她的认真和好学得到了认可,并在1983年毕业于福建师范大学("教师的摇篮"),学习生物。



January 28, 2022
Cardinal Funeral Home Bathurst

Private family service by invitation only


January 28, 2022
Meadowvale Cemetery

Private family burial


January 30, 2022
John Chen
Mom, I miss you so much