amherst memorial service

Kye Soon Kim

Kye Soon Kim

Private Family Visitation

Monday, May 10, 2021
5:00 - 6:00 PM
Korean United Church of Vancouver
3821 Lister Street, Burnaby, BC
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Funeral Service

Monday, May 10, 2021
6:00 PM
Korean United Church of Vancouver
3821 Lister Street, Burnaby, BC
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Interment (Burial)

Tuesday, May 11, 2021
11:00 AM
Ocean View Burial Park
4000 Imperial Street, Burnaby, BC
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Obituary for Kye Soon Kim

November 14, 1937 – May 2, 2021

The late Kye Soon Kim (neé Kwon): eternal angel, beloved sister (noona/unni), mother (umma), grandmother (halmoni), aunt (gomo/emo), servant leader and cherished friend.

Our precious “Halmoni” passed away peacefully at 8:30 am on Sunday, May 2nd, 2021, overlooking the tranquility of Trout Lake after her courageous 17 year-long journey living with Alzheimer’s.

She was blessed to have her children, grandchildren, extended family (through virtual visits), and the caring staff of Lakeview Care Centre (her home away from home of 9 years) be able to say their goodbyes before she departed to be reunited with her devoted husband of 43 years, the late Lee Sung Kim.

She was born on November 14, 1937 in the village of Toyohashi (near Nagoya), Japan, the second youngest child of Yong Hun Kwon (father) and Ok-Hyun Kim (mother). During the period of Japan’s colonization of Korea (1910-1945), most Koreans living in Japan were impoverished and ghettoized. However, her family owned a large warehouse and manufacturing plant before the outbreak of the second world war; and her parents generously helped Korean families in need and supported the Independence movement while risking their own safety. It is through her parents’ selfless acts that her own servant heart and deep love of people were cultivated.

After the liberation of Korea, Halmoni and her family made a difficult sea voyage back to their Motherland. Reintegrating into life in Korea presented many challenges and obstacles for the family; and tragically, her father passed away soon thereafter. Then the Korean War broke out merely 5 years after the end of WWII; and like most Korean families, her mother and siblings were once more uprooted, doing whatever was needed to escape with only what they could carry and finding refuge in make-shift shelters. Halmoni spent her childhood in Daejeon; then moved to Busan for a short period before asserting her independence in her early twenties by moving to Seoul, where her childhood best friend (In-Hwan Kim) had already gone to work in the big city.

Parlaying the sewing skills she had learned under the tutelage of the local police chief’s wife in her hometown, Halmoni initially found work through a kind businesswoman (Elder Myung of her church) as a hanbok dressmaker’s assistant. In no time, her God-given talent in designing and her innate entrepreneurial spirit led her to renting her own space inside the Geun-hwa Department Store, where she successfully ran a bespoke hanbok design business. Her exclusive designs were much sought after and soon she employed several assistants to help grow her promising enterprise.

Her special daughter-mother relationship with Elder Myung would also lead to a chance meeting with her future husband. On the day she attended Elder Myung’s church at her invitation, the man who was to become her soulmate was one of the greeters at the entrance. For him, it was love at first sight. They married on October 10, 1964, and had 3 children, before he left to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration in Chicago, Illinois. The years apart were tremendously difficult, for both husband and wife. Their tear-stained love letters written and re-read many a time are proof of the unimaginable separation and heartache they had to endure. The couple was reunited in Vancouver in 1972, where they settled, raised their children, and grew the clan with grandchildren and extended family that are part of their proud legacies.

Halmoni continued to sew throughout her life: in her 20-year career at Jantzen Sportswear Company in Vancouver as well as in designing clothes at home for the family. After she retired, she helped raise granddaughter Kiana and the rest of her grandchildren, all of whom have fond memories of growing up in the loving care of their grandparents at “3096” (address of the Kim residence). She loved welcoming as many people as possible into the family home to share her delicious cooking – her ddukgook, nehngmyun, japche, doobu-jjigae, egg rolls (among many more dishes) are legendary.

Halmoni will be remembered for her compassion, generosity, inner beauty (to match her physical beauty), and unwavering faithfulness exemplified by her 40-year service to the church. She lived humbly, loved deeply, and spent her life in service, volunteering with the Korean-Canadian chapter of the Law Students’ Legal Advice Society, and serving the Korean United Church (KUC) of Vancouver in every capacity from President of the KUC women’s association and deaconess to volunteer janitor and Sunday school teacher. To her final breath, with nearly all memory lost to Alzheimer’s, she was with God.

The family is profoundly grateful to the Angels of Lakeview for their loving care of Halmoni; and to the many extended family, friends, Reverend John Woo and the Korean United Church family who continuously prayed for and visited her at Lakeview.

The late Kye Soon Kim was pre-deceased by devoted husband Lee Sung Kim and beloved sister Tal Soon Kwon, and survived by her extended family who will forever cherish her. Her beloved children: The Honourable Yonah Martin (spouse Doug), Konah Kim, Jinah Kim (spouse Grant). Her biological grandchildren: Thelonious Duk-Sun (26), Kiana Mi-Sun (25), Ella Jin-Sun (21), Mimi Mi-Hyun (19) and Tae Hyun (16). Her surrogate children (and grandchildren): Ann Choi and Sonia Harris (Nathan and Ryan); Ann Woo (Kevin and Jennifer) and Maureen Marriott. She is survived by extended family members: brother-in-law Young Bok Roe, younger brother Poong-Won Kwon, as well as nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces in Canada, the United States and Korea.

Messages of condolence and memories of Halmoni can be added to her condolence book at the bottom of this memorial page.

Memorial Donations

In lieu of flowers, if you so wish, the family gratefully acknowledges donations made in Kye Soon Kim’s honour to BC Childrens’ Hospital Foundation.

 BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Memorial Tribute

The following video presentation is a memorial tribute in loving memory of Halmoni, as presented at her Funeral Service.

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Graveside (Interment/Burial) Service

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Memorial Card

Condolence Messages

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Dignity. Respect. Simplicity.