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May 26, 2010 12:08 PM

Passing of Mila Oh (aka moh)

Mila Oh, force of nature, irrepressible chowhound (posting under the handle moh) and treasured friend, passed away yesterday evening. The cause was complications from breast cancer. She was sleeping at the time and her beloved husband was at her side. As can be gleaned from her few recent posts, she'd been in a bad way of late, and the knowledge that her suffering has ended is our only consolation.

One of the places her spirit lives on is in her Chowhound posts. Read and enjoy:

What else to add? Only that Mila has already said what needs saying in her moving and, in hindsight, brave tribute to Sam Fujisaka. A few life details aside, she could well have been talking about herself.

"I've been unable to post since hearing the news. It's hard to know what to say, what could possibly be an appropriate tribute for a larger-than-life character whose personality shines like a giant beacon with every post?

"But then I was sitting with some good friends, ripping into fresh snow crab legs, dipping them in gobs of melted butter, chomping on fresh asparagus spears, more crab, the shells cracking open to release their glorious treasure, followed by swigs of the most lovely 15 year-old Alsatian riesling, laughing at the stories of my friend's children, and the mischief they had been up to. We are celebrating the return of spring. As the wine continues to pour, the stories get raunchier, someone breaks into the chorus of some old 1980's song, people join in. More bottles open, and people start to get a little maudlin, but that is ok too, anything goes. We are amongst good friends, good food and drink, can it get any better than this? And we create yet another happy memory that bonds us to each other.

"That is when I realized, Sam would not want some fancy formal memorial service, he would want a rip-roaring wake! He would want to leave this world on a rocket ship, not a hearse.

"Sam was a man who was so passionate about everything: food, drink, his scientific work, women, his children, life. It is his passion that draws us to him, and it is his wit, intelligence and engaging manner that makes us want to stay. He was never afraid to express his opinions, but was also willing to listen to opposing points of view. He was a man who was willing to try any kind of food, he had a quality of openness that is so rare to see. And he shared his love and passion for food with us through his posts, he was an incredibly generous soul.

"Sam had some of the strange hours I seem to keep, and he helped me through several tough nights, where he and I and others would create Tibetan Sand Art, posting odder and funnier and raunchier posts that were guaranteed to be moderated by morning. His posts made me laugh when nothing else could, and I am extremely grateful for those moments of laughter. His posts made me think, kept my mind active when I needed to be preoccupied. I could hear his 'voice', sense his presence when I read his posts. He always made me feel welcome and comfortable, even when we were debating some scientific point. And I feel like I've shared his table, eaten a mighty banquet with him, even though it was a virtual one. Thank you Sam, for sharing so many moments with me, with all of us. We are all richer for sharing your grand passion for life.

"So let it start! Laugh, cry, sing, open up a bunch of bottles, pile the food on the table! Let's celebrate the life of Sam Fujisaka, knowing he lived the equivalent of nine lives, and lived them all with passion laughter and love. I raise my glass!"

Please feel free to share your memories and stories of Mila/moh and your thoughts on her passing.

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  1. What sad news. Yet, as you say, her suffering is over. Her tribute to Sam was so eloquent and you are so correct to use it to celebrate her life also. I hope they're having as much fun hanging out "there" as they did here. Just imagine the meals :)

    1. sad news indeed. moh was my #1 resource for korean restaurant reviews in montreal and her incredibly harsh critics about the quality of kimchi in the restaurants. She will be missed.

      1. This is sad news indeed.

        We can't afford to lose these great fonts of wisdom from CH.

        I didn't read a lot of Moh's posts but she was an eloquent (as stated above) and knowledgeable woman without whom, this site will suffer.


        P.S. I hope she was able to hitch a ride on that rocketship.

        1. what a shame. I loved reading her. condolences to her family and friends.

          2 Replies
          1. re: C70

            Me too, and had noticed when I no longer saw her posts very often, which I suppose is explained by her illness.

            1. re: tatamagouche

              Oh, this is such sad news. I felt like I "knew" her from the Home Cooking Board. She will be missed.

          2. Oh, how sad I am to read this. I haven't been on chowhound much in the past few months. I don't know what led me to check the site today, but I didn't know moh was ill. I will miss her exuberance. What a good citizen she was. A few months after I moved to Montreal, she arranged a Jean Talon market trip. I met her only that one time but what a wonderful trip it was. She took me under her wing and let me in on all of her favorites.