Memories of the Korean War are
palpable for Patsy Surh O’Connell.
Seven-year-old Patsy and her big
brother climbed onto the roof
every time they heard approaching
bombers. “B-29! B-29!” they’d
shout. “Americans are here!” In the
sky above at least. The communists
were literally downstairs.
The North Koreans appropriated
her family’s house as a command
post when they captured Seoul.
Patsy is steeped in two cultures.
Nearly 120 years ago, her
grandfather was the second Korean
to graduate from an American
In 1996, Patsy founded the Asia
Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma.
It partners with schools, the
military, government, business and
industry to showcase the heritage
of 47 counties whose immigrants
have created a mosaic of cultural
diversity in Washington State.
Fundraising is now under way for a landmark new center.