OBITUARY

Alexander Yung Roberge

May 11, 1985August 11, 2021
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Alexander Roberge

Born May 11, 1985 in Daegu, South Korea, Alex enriched the lives of Ed and Libby Roberge 3 months later when he arrived in his adoptive home.

Over the next five years the family grew to include a brother, Vincent and a sister, Jacqueline. The three grew up sharing their love of swimming, keeping their parents off-balance and creating happy havoc in the house.

Alex attended U of D Jesuit High where he was a 4 year varsity swimmer. He was imbued with the school philosophy of educating “Men for Others”. Those words motivated his remaining life.

After obtaining his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University in 2009 where he was actively involved with DELTA CHI Fraternity, he announced to family and friends that he was going to South Korea to teach English for a year. He taught English in elementary schools, taught children to swim, swam on an adult Masters team and then coached that team.

It was while swimming on the Masters team that he met his future wife, SoYoun Lee. In March 2016, they married. In the five years of their marriage, they laughed, traveled together, planned for the future and worked to make themselves better people. His “one year in Korea” turned into 10.

Unable to obtain a COVID vaccination in Korea he contracted COVID in July and despite heroic efforts by the medical community, entered eternal life on August 11, 2021 in Incheon, South Korea.

Alex thrived in the Korean culture, appreciating the food and familial values of the Korean people. He learned the nuances of the culture through the efforts of his dear wife, SoYoun and her family, his Korean “brother” Yong Kyun Kim and many other Korean friends and colleagues.

Alex taught English. He taught swimming to children. But his greatest gift was to teach others how to live life with generosity and joy.

Beyond those mentioned above, survivors include Roberge and Forsthoefel aunts, uncles and cousins all much loved.

There will be a memorial service for Alex at St. Valentine’s Church, 14841 Beech Daly, Redford Twp. Michigan on Saturday, September 25th at 10:30 am.

In honoring Alex, please continue to exercise safety, care and concern for self and family. In so doing, we respectfully invite all vaccinated family and friends to join us for the memorial service. Because of the ongoing COVID concern, we ask that masks be worn by those who attend. Alex would want all children to remain safe, we suggest that those under 12 remain home.

Memorials can be sent to either:

University of Detroit Jesuit High School 8400 S. Cambridge Detroit, MI 48221 uofdjesuit.org/Giving

Or: Detroit Swims WMCA of Metropolitan Detroit www.ymcadetroit.org

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.HarryjWillLivonia.com for the Roberge family.

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, September 25, 2021

Memories

Alexander Yung Roberge

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John-Mark Toth

September 25, 2021

I am very sorry to hear that Alex has passed. You are all in my thoughts.

Jennifer Ann Yardley

September 12, 2021

I was so saddened to hear of Alex's passing. I never met him, but knew of him through his grandparents Mark and Joan Forsthoefel who were my penfriends. He was obviously well loved and respected. My deepest sympathy to Libby, Skip and family and to his widow SoYoun.

Cindy Marriott

September 9, 2021

I first met Alex when he was 4 years old. Libby and I carpooled our Korean adoptees to Korean camp on Tuesday. Even at that age, Alex was calm and pleasant. I relished that about him.

If Alex had stayed in the United States he would have received his vaccine shots. But Alex didn't want safety. He wanted to return to the land of his birth to help others: to teach both in the school room and in the swimming pool, to reach out to those needing help and to provide assistance to those who needed help.

Alex was a man who preferred looking outward into the world rather than looking inward satisfying only his needs and those of his immediate family. Libby and Ed, you raised an amazing person. May his journey be peaceful and your grief soothing and healing. Alex we hardly knew thee.

Catherine Lee

September 5, 2021

I met Alex through my friend Christi. We traveled to Korea together in 2015 and she contacted him (an old friend of hers through Korean camp as children). Alex was so kind and brought us all around Seoul. He was friendly, funny, and so helpful as we navigated the big city. I look back on those few days as some of the most fun I've ever had. My condolences to the family. I am forever grateful to have met him.

Charlie Thompson

August 30, 2021

My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Roberge family. Alex was a truly kind person who I have great memories of at UofD. He was a great friend and teammate who cared about one another and lived UofD's motto.

Charlie

Bruce-Barb Antioch

August 30, 2021

Ed, Libby and family: we were so sorry to hear of your loss. Our prayers are with you all.

Fred McEVOY

August 30, 2021

Dear Libby and Ed,
Many good wishes, happy thoughts and Irish prayers are accmpanying your dear Alexander on his journey home ...and those same sentiments to both of you, as well. And, until you meet him again, may God continue to hold each of you in the palm of His hand.
Fred McEvoy (SHS retiree: 2001)

Edwin Jackson

August 28, 2021

So saddened to hear of Alex's passing. My condolences to his family and loved ones.

Alex took me under his wing at CDI in Wirye in 2017 and 2018. I remember like yesterday when he took me to his favourite 치맥 (beer and fried chicken restaurant) after work one day. We talked about how teaching could be challenging at times but was so rewarding. He insisted that he pay for the meal. I was a recent (broke) graduate and newcomer to Korea, so it was greatly appreciated. He made me feel comfortable in a new and unfamiliar country.

In the classroom he made it look easy; energizing any classroom he entered; bringing out the best in even the most shy students. When my time came to leave Korea, he graciously moved and temporarily stored my (very heavy) luggage with zero hesitation or complaint.

A caring and generous soul, he had a positive impact on so many others and that will last forever.

There is a song that goes:
"The only measure of your words and your deeds will be the love you leave behind when you're gone".

Based on my memories of Alex and the ones I have read here and on social media from so many others, it is clear he has left behind lots.

Stephen Erickson

August 27, 2021

I met Alex my first year in Korea, maybe just a few months in, around the time I met my wife. He was my supervisor at my first job in Korea. I admired Alex for his grit and work ethic, but also for his authenticity. I quickly realized early in knowing him that he would be a true friend. Alex had a unique level of integrity, observed in so many ways.

Alex was a groomsman at my Korean wedding! He helped carry both me and my wife down the aisle to the front as part of the traditional ceremony!

Later on, I moved to a different city and worked at a different academy. We ended up with a shortage of teachers at my current academy. I immediately sought Alex. It was a big win, because we were able to get Alex at my academy even though it was another city.
Working with Alex again was awesome. We had the chance to work together again, for 9 months. It was a great 9 months working together again.

When my mother died earlier this year, Alex reached out and gave consolation. He was a great friend to have during such a difficult time, not just available, but one of the only people who understood I would be hurting and approached me on more than one occasion as a caring friend.


I am going to miss Alex terribly. He was truly a great friend. My condolences to everyone hurting from this tragedy.

Martin Connell, SJ

August 25, 2021

Oh, Dear Ed and Libby,
I am so sorry. This is such heartbreaking news for me to read. I can't begin to imagine your own heartbreak, knowing your love and devotion for Alex as I do.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

~Marty