Born: February 15, 1933 at home, near Hae Ju, North Korea, the youngest of six. Passed: December 14, 2016 at home in Rolling Hills Estates, CA, at age 83. Memorial Service will be Saturday, December 17th at 1 p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church 26231 Silver Spur, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.
As a child, Kunchoon and his family members escaped from North Korea. His 16 year old brother was murdered by a Russian soldier before he could escape. His sister ran to Seoul and died from exhaustion shortly after arriving. As the war hardened, they all had to flee from Seoul by by walking 150 miles to Taegu, Korea.
During the war he did not attend school but sold homemade ice cakes made by his mom, sweet potatoes, and fish in his own store; additionally, Kunchoon ran a wholesale liquor service, and later oversaw a family bath house.
He could not speak English but he came to the US to study at Bates College, in Lewiston, Maine, in 1954. He made the Dean's List his first semester, as he only took math classes that did not require English. He transferred to and graduated from Washington University in St Louis, MO.
Later, he was the President of Yu Engineering Incorporated and Rokus, Incorporated; both companies were international structural steel detailing firms (blueprints) with offices in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Seoul, Beijing, and Manila.
He loved his family and America. He became an American citizen in 1961. He was a strong Republican. He served as an election poll worker and enjoyed being an usher at the church. But best of all he was a good supporter and avid encourager of his wife Deanna and all of her church projects. Together, they traveled to more than 60 countries. He loved counseling young people to make the right life choices. He was very wise at guiding them, especially his grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife, Deanna Axtell Yu, of the home; a son, Dr. Jerry Yu (Laurita Yu) of Claremont, CA ; his daughter, Jacquelyn Starodub (Peter Starodub); four grandkids, Elizabeth Kim, Caitlin Kim, Joshua Yu and Hannah Yu. He also has one living sister, Kun Bok Tae of Seoul, Korea. He has a sister-in-law, Margie Emerson and a brother-in-law, Jim Axtell. Sign guestbook at dailybreeze.com
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Published by Palos Verdes Peninsula News on Dec. 17, 2016.