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Celebrating a champion community activist, Paul Mar, AiPACE Co-Chair

Celebrating a champion community activist, Paul Mar, AiPACE Co-Chair

April 26, 2024
Paul Mar photo web

Still image from Paul Mar’s Bamboo Awardee video from ICHS’ 2023 50th Anniversary Gala.

International Community Health Services (ICHS) mourns Paul Mar’s passing. He was our colleague, our friend, and our mentor in our organization’s largest capital campaign to date, Aging in PACE Washington (AiPACE). He believed firmly in this project’s purpose of providing culturally-responsive elder care.

"All of us extend our deepest gratitude to Paul for all that he's done," said Kelli Nomura, ICHS CEO. "He was deeply passionate about serving our communities. His visionary leadership and commitment to the C-ID will always inspire us."

Paul served as AiPACE capital campaign committee co-chair from the campaign’s launch in 2015 to right up to his passing.

AiPACE is ICHS’ campaign to build and operate a new PACE senior care facility in Beacon Hill, Seattle. PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a nationally-recognized model of care that enables low-income, nursing-home eligible adults to live independently with the support of comprehensive medical and social services.

Ron Chew, former ICHS Foundation Executive Director, said, “Paul knew the value of embracing a health care model that allows frail AANHPI seniors to stay in their homes and remain a vital part of their neighborhoods. With AiPACE, he was right there from the start, when we began exploring possible sites for the facility all the way through to the fundraising.”

“He was one of the biggest advocates for the $25 million capital campaign,” said Christine Consolacion, ICHS Foundation Manager. Even after he lost his vision and his health began to decline, he cheerfully hosted and led committee meetings at his senior living facility, strategizing about how to market the campaign and potential donors to recruit to the cause.

The AiPACE facility will be located on the ground floor of the Beacon Pacific Village project, being developed and managed by ICHS’ partner organization, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), where Paul served as Director of Real Estate Development and board of director for many years.

The new facility will expand ICHS’ PACE program and capacity to serve seniors from across King County. The program provides all of the care, support, and critical activities that elders need, without having to move them to nursing homes. Elders would remain in their home and community, being able to access health services at the AiPACE facility from an integrated care team.

Having worked in the CID for most of his life, he understood the challenges that AANHPI seniors faced in accessing health services, living healthy lives, and aging in their community. He was passionate about expanding community services that provide care that is culturally and linguistically responsive to Seattle’s AANHPI seniors. He said himself in a 2016 interview, “the PACE program is near and dear to my heart because it serves the elderly through health care and is a much needed service in the community.”


Concept rendering of the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority’s Beacon Pacific Village project (rendered by Weber Thompson for SCIDpda). International Community Health Service’s PACE center and clinic will be located on the ground floor of the project location.

“That Message”

Paul was born in Seattle and received his BA in Engineering at the University of Washington. Paul worked in the community nonprofit sector in Seattle’s Chinatown International District for over 50 years. He counseled the initial group that would establish SCIDpda in 1975 as a community-controlled public agency aimed at the revitalization and management of the CID’s historic buildings.

Paul had his hand in numerous major construction projects in the neighborhood. Namely, the International District Village Square complex that ICHS’ International District Medical & Dental Clinic and ICHS Legacy House assisted living facility is in today. As well as the restoration of the historic Bush Hotel following its extensive damage in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. He was part of the leadership team that converted the East Kong Yick Building into the permanent home for the Wing Luke Museum during a “gritty” five-year $23 million fundraising campaign, as Ron Chew wrote in Paul’s obituary.

Paul played a critical role in leading and shaping SCIDpda through its history, working closely with ICHS leaders and other CID leaders ensuring the restoration, safety, and health of Seattle’s Chinatown International District.

He will be remembered not by what he did but how he did it, said Consolacion. “He always led with empathy and quiet conviction. Because of the great trust and credibility he had among leaders at so many community organizations, he was able to bridge differences between people and elevate important grassroots efforts,

He preferred to work behind the scenes as a quiet force. “Anytime I felt overwhelmed about the scale of the AiPACE campaign, he was always there encouraging us. As a committee leader but also a friend. This is just a grain of sand in the amount of work that this community has achieved. ‘There’s a lot of things people thought we would never achieve in our history, but we always did.’ That message. That always stuck with me.”

In November 2023, Paul was awarded the Bamboo Award for Health at the ICHS Foundation 50th Anniversary Gala in recognition of his leadership.

“My association with ICHS has been long and it has been a very beneficial journey for both of us,” said Paul in his award speech. “I have been involved with helping them with their facilities and planning for the future. I am pleased to have been able to work alongside such very talented and dedicated people through these years.”

Paul will be missed by all. His legacy and memory live on. Rest in peace Paul Mar.

Read his obituary at

He is survived by his brother Larry Mar, two nieces, and four nephews. There are plans to hold a celebration of life for Paul Mar in May.


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