Young Chi Kim (1921 - 2011)

Obituary
2 entries
  • "Thank you for sharing with us little moments throughout..."
  • "Death is so painful for us all because it's not natural...."
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Young Chi Kim was born in Korea in 1921. This was during the Japanese occupation of Korea. She and Chum Chul Shin were married in the late 1930's. They had eight children during the next 18 years. During this time Ms. Kim also taught school. Until the end of World War II the Japanese continued to control Korea. This was a period of great hardship. The people were not permitted to speak Korean and were forced to learn Japanese. Then shortly after the end of World War II the Korean War began.

Ms. Kim's daughter, ChongUn who lives here in Juneau was born in Seoul just four days before the Korean War began. This was a very difficult time for the family. During part of the war the family was separated in the refugees race to the South of Korea. All of the family survived the war and then eventually settled in the town of Fasong. There Ms. Kim's husband operated a general medical practice.

Ms. Kim (married women in Korea do not take their husbands Surname) and her husband came to Alaska several times. In the late 1970's and early 1980's they came to love Alaska and its quietness, pristine waters and green mountains. They loved fishing and sightseeing, and had the opportunity on one occasion to spend several days in Denali Park. It was wonderful to see all the unpopulated areas and the many wild creatures that live in the Park. In Korea there are many people and very few large open spaces with the opportunity for wild animals. Unfortunately, in 1986 Ms. Kim's husband was involved in an accident between the motorcycle he was on and a bus. He lingered on for a number of months but was never able to recover from the accident. This was another challenging time for Ms. Kim.

In the late 1980's after a lengthy period of mourning Ms. Kim cam to visit her daughters who live in Hawaii (Heran) and Alaska. It was then she decided to settle in Alaska in order to enjoy the pure clear water and the opportunities for fishing, being with her daughter and seeing her grandchildren. Since then another of her sons (Steve Shin) has joined her in Juneau with his wife (KunSoon Jun) and their sone (Jeff Shin).

Since then all of her children and their spouses visited in Juneau. The children now live and work in many different places including Korea, China, Hawaii and Alaska. For a while she had a son who worked in California and another son who worked in Spain. With the assistance of her children Ms. Kim was able to visit Korea almost every other year until 2002.

While she enjoyed seeing her friends in Korea and of course, appreciated the fact that there everyone speaks Korean, she still most enjoyed living in Juneau, Alaska. Alaska is neither hot in the summer nor cold in the winter and the mountains change with the seasons. She could look out her window and see each day now there are changes on Mt. Juneau. The air is clean and the water is the best she ever tasted anywhere she's ever been. She thanked the people of Juneau and Alaska for allowing her to live here and enjoy this wonderful place. She became a U.S. citizen in 2008.

She is preceded in death by husband Dr. KumChul Shin, son DonHauk Shin, grandson YoHoun Shin. She is survived by seven children, their spouses, 15 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. She is interred at the Columbarium, one of her favorite places of respite.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Sept. 1 to Sept. 7, 2011