Willow Glen Funeral Home

1039 Lincoln Ave, San Jose, CA


Dr. HunZong Kim

July 15, 1927May 29, 2020

Dr. HunZong Kim passed away peacefully at the age of 92 on May 29, 2020 at his home in San Jose, California surrounded by loved ones. He is survived by his wife, ShiHyun Chang Kim of 67 years; his sons, DongChul Kim (YangHee) of Saratoga, CA, & SungChul Kim of San Jose, CA; his daughter, Haikyong Kim Russell (Paul) of San Jose, CA; granddaughters, Kayla Kim of Cleveland, OH, and Carmela Russell; and relatives in Seoul, South Korea, brother-in-law HyungKyu Jeon, nephews Dr. ChangHoon Jeon, and HyeongShik Kim, and nieces YoungOck Jeon, GaeHyun Kim and MiHyun Kim.

HunZong was born in SunChon, a small city 30 miles north of PyongYang, North Korea on July 15th, 1927 during the Japanese Occupation of the Korean Peninsula. His father, MoonHo Kim and his mother, InSun Paik moved the family to ChangChun, Manchuria (northeastern China) when HunZong was 4 years old, along with his 2-year old sister, HyunSook Kim.

HunZong lived in Manchuria for the next 14 years going to primary & middle schools, and a Japanese high school in ChangChun. While in high school, HunZong really wanted to become a pilot, but his father would not allow him to pursue that field. It was compulsory for Korean nationals living in Japanese occupied territories to serve in the Japanese military. HunZong’s father did not want his only son to possibly become a kamikaze pilot, but instead encouraged him to pursue medicine.

In April 1945, HunZong entered Harbin Medical School in Manchuria. However, major historical events allowed him to attend Harbin Medical School only for 4 months. The first atomic bomb at Hiroshima on August 6th,1945, the second atomic bomb at Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945, and the Japanese surrender to the US & allies on August 15th, 1945 all changed dramatically the course of HunZong’s life at the young age of 18. Even when HunZong was 90 years old, he could recite these specific dates in history that impacted the world and his own life so significantly.

In early September 1945, HunZong’s father came in-person to Harbin Medical School to take his son back to their North Korean hometown and ensure that his son did not remain in China which was turning into a Communist political system. HunZong left Manchuria on top of a Russian military transport train to SunChon, North Korea. In October 1945, he started medical school a second time at PyongYang Medical College, but only attended one year.

During the year period in PyongYang from late 1945 through 1946, HunZong observed that Russian & Chinese military personnel were present everywhere in North Korea, while the Japanese were returning to Japan. His medical school name kept changing – to "People's Medical School of Pyongyang", and "Democratic Medical School", reflecting the fact that North Korea was also turning into a communist country.

HunZong decided to flee PyongYang in January 1947, and head to Seoul, South Korea. His journey to freedom included a train ride from SunChon to PyongYang, hitchhiking on a Russian Army truck from PyongYang to HaeJu, located near the 38th parallel, and finally on a train to Seoul. HunZong entered his third Medical School at Seoul National University in September 1947, as a second-year student, and finally graduated with a MD degree on May 14th, 1950.

HunZong had a prestigious internship lined up to begin on July 1st, 1950 at Seoul National University Hospital, which was a coveted opportunity in his field. Another major historical event occurred on June 25th, 1950 when North Korea Communist Army invaded South Korea and the Korean War broke out. Seoul University Hospital had to move further south temporarily to Busan (southeastern region of South Korea) as Seoul was attacked by the North. Instead of the Seoul University Hospital internship, HunZong entered the South Korean Air Force, serving as a physician at JinHae Air Force Academy in Busan, just across from the American Air Force Base. Dr. Kim served in the South Korean Air Force for 4 years & 8 months, including the Korean War period. The Korean War officially ended on July 27th, 1953 with an armistice agreement separating North & South Korea at the 38th parallel.

Dr. Kim married a fellow North Korean, a pediatrician, ShiHyun Chang on October 14th, 1953 in Busan on a small Navy boat. They were blessed with 3 children. Their first two children, DongChul and Haikyong were born in Busan, and actually delivered by Dr. Kim at home. Their third child, SungChul was born in Seoul, and delivered by an OB/GYN friend at home. After the Korean War, Dr. Kim and family moved to Seoul and lived there for 11 years. Dr. Kim worked as a general surgeon at Paik Hospital, while his wife practiced at her private Pediatric office.

Then Dr. Kim moved his family in 1964 to Uganda, as a member of the first team of 6 physicians commissioned by the Foreign Ministry of South Korea in efforts to assist underdeveloped countries. Dr. Kim & his wife worked at a government hospital located in Tororo, a small town in eastern Uganda for 6 years from 1964 to 1970. After passing the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) exam, Dr. Kim immigrated with his family to the United States in November 1970. Dr. Kim settled in Sylvania, a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, and completed his medical internship, residency and became certified in General Practice. Dr. Kim and his family members became US citizens in 1976, on the bicentennial anniversary of the US adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Dr. Kim was so proud to have an American flag always flying outside his home in Sylvania. He practiced and worked in Emergency Rooms at Toledo area hospitals for approximately 27 years until age 70 when he retired in 1997. Dr. Kim & his wife moved to San Jose, CA in 2006 where all their 3 children live.

Dr. Kim lived a very full life independently, travelled extensively, and was still driving at age 92 until the mid-March 2020 Corona virus shelter-in-place took place. Dr. Kim was exceptionally intelligent, knowledgeable not just in his medical field but also in global political affairs, history, literature, philosophy & classical music. He loved to listen to classical music, and sing hymns, opera and Irish folk songs (e.g. Oh Danny Boy) in Korean. He was fluent in Korean, Japanese & English, and was able to read & write Japanese & Chinese classical letters. Dr. Kim also had proficiency in German, Mandarin and a few East African tribal dialects to communicate with his patients. He was an avid reader all his life and loved to surf the internet for world news in different languages and perspectives. Dr. Kim was the life of the party as he loved to talk, joke around, and drink beer, sake & Johnny Walker whiskey! He also enjoyed hiking in his younger days in Korea and even climbed Mount Elgon in Uganda.

Dr. Kim helped many people needing medical attention and saved many lives as a surgeon in Korea, Uganda and the United States. Throughout his life, he was a devout Christian, being raised Presbyterian by his parents. The Korean Presbyterian Church community in Manchuria and North Korea helped him cross closed borders at night which allowed him ultimately to reach freedom in the United States. Dr. Kim’s children and grandchildren are forever grateful and proud of his legacy. We wish his persevering life story brings hope, pride, and inspiration to the people of his birthplace, in SunChon, North Korea.

The family asks that any donations in Dr. HunZong Kim’s memory be made to the Silicon Valley Presbyterian Church (c/o Pastor YoungKi Lee) at 1721 Dry Creek Road, San Jose, CA 95125.

To contact the family, please email Haikyong Kim Russell at: haikrussell@comcast.net


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Dr. HunZong Kim

have a memory or condolence to add?

Hyeong Shik kim

June 11, 2020

사랑하는 이모부..
이모부님은 저에게 너무나 많은걸 남겨 주셨습니다. 제가 미시간주립대 유학시절 이모부님댁에 자주 들려 머물렀습니다. 그 당시 이무부님과, 한국동란 시절의 얘기, 앞으로 어떻게 살아야 할지, 인생에 뭐가 중요한지 등등 수 많은 대화를 하였습니다. 이런 대화를 통해 저는 인생 설계를 하였습니다.

Dear Uncle(Imobu)
My uncle left me too much. When I was studying at Michigan State University, I often stayed and stopped by my uncle's house. At that time, I had a lot of conversations with Mr. Lee, the story of the Korean War, how to live in the future, what is important in life, and so on. Through this conversation, I designed my life.

이모부님은 의사로서 많은 사람에게 생명을 다시 불어 넣어 주시고 고통과 아픔을 줄여주시는 훌륭한 일을 하였습니다. 특히 60년대에 아무도 가지 않는 아프리카까지 가서 지구상에서 가장 어려운 사람을 의술로서 생명을 지키는 슈바이쳐 박사와 같은 성스러운 일을 하셨습니다. 정말 존경스러운 분입니다.

As a doctor, Uncle did a wonderful job of reinvigorating many people and reducing pain . Especially in the 60s, he went to Africa where no one did not want to go, Buthe did sacred things and served the most difficult people as medicine.
He was exactly Dr. Schweitzer.
My Uncle imobu was a very very respectable person.

이제 이모부님이 가장 사랑하는 하나님 곂으로 가셨습니다. 그 곳에서 영원히 평안하게 계실거라고 믿습니다.
이모부님 정말 고마웠습니다. 감사했습니다.

지금도 작년 이모부님과 헤어질때 "이제 보면 언제 보겠누" 하고 울먹이던 모습이 눈에 선합니다. ..........

안녕히 가세요.

Now Uncle has gone to God .
I believe he will stay there comfortably in forever
Thank you so much Uncle imobu.

When I last said last hello in America last year,
imobu said, "Can I see you again?"
Crying. ..........

Thank you so much