April 27, 1946 – October 2, 2020
Mi-yong was born in 1946 just outside Seoul, Korea, 2 years after the Japanese Occupation of Korea. Her parents owned a textile manufacturing plant. She was her mother’s first born. When she turned 4 years old, she remembered sitting on her father’s lap as he was feeding her and promised to get her a red bicycle. This would be the last time she saw her father because the Korean war started in 1950 and he went off to fight and never returned. Mi-yong lost her sister, Mi-ran, during this war and she never forgot her. She told me about her poverty, starvation, and hardships during the war and after. She had a very difficult childhood.
Mi-yong met her husband to be, William Gilman, in Seoul, Korea while he was serving in the Army in 1972. William was taking Korean language classes and met her on a blind date. This became a turning point in her life when he proposed to her and she moved to the United States. They were married on March 10, 1973 at St. Mary’s Church in Centralia, WA. Mi-yong moved then to be with her husband in Germany where she conceived their daughter, Mi-na. Mi-na was born on Easter Sunday morning. Mi-yong worked hard all of her life. She wanted to have a trade, so she went to Centralia College and learned to be a keypunch operator. Later she attended Puget Sound Community College and earned an Associate of Arts Degree. She advanced to a computer operator position with the Washington State Patrol until she retired. She blossomed in the United States and received the education so long sought but was denied in Korea during her youth.
She enjoyed playing her harp, cooking, singing, and hiking. After her retirement, she played the harp at the bedside of the sick for Hospice for 5 years. She learned to play the harp after retirement from the State of Washington. She sang with the Sweet Adelines women’s group in Olympia, WA, and Tucson, AZ. Where there was a hiking trail, she would seize it no matter the difficulty. She was also known in Tucson as a Bush-Wacker because she went places no sane person would travel or hike sometimes coming home all bruised up.
Mi-yong is proceeded in death by her mother, Bok-soo Lee, her father (unknown), and her sister, Mi-ran. She is survived by her husband, William Gilman; her daughter, Mi-na; and two grandchildren, Monica and Vanessa. She is also survived by her sisters: Mi-ja, Yong-suk, Yong-son, Yong-ae, Yong-ran; and her three brothers: Hyo-jin, Sok-jin, and Seung-jin, along with several nieces and nephews.
The family requests no flowers but asks you make a donation in Mi-yong’s name to: Our Lady of Fatima Parish 1950 W Irvington Place Tucson, AZ 85746
- Hyo-Jin So, Casket Bearer
- Sok-Jin So, Casket Bearer
- Seung-Jin So, Casket Bearer
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Friday, October 16, 2020
October 14, 2020
I remember Mi-Yong from the Olympia Harp Circle, mostly from the earlier days before the Tumwater Library, when we were meeting in members' homes. She was such a sweet lady, personable, enthusiastic, and welcoming. Besides being a very skilled harp player, she was always complimentary of others' performance.
October 14, 2020
Mi-Yong was a wonderful harper, a great addition to the harp community of Puget Sound. She was very enthusiastic about everything that had to do with harps. We have the traditional Korean song she taught at a PSFHS event, 'A Rirong', which will forever be in our Harp Tunebook thanks to her.
How very sad that she has passed away, and way too young. We will miss her and honor her at our next meeting, whenever that may be...
Puget Sound Folk Harp Society
October 11, 2020
I got the chance to meet Mi-Yong once. Sitting in front of Cabela's selling popcorn with Mi-na and Vanessa. You could tell in just the few minutes we spent together, that she was an amazing woman. She was someone you could stand and talk with all day. She had a fun loving presence that will never be forgotten.
October 9, 2020
Mi-Yong was not just a musician, she was a wonderful vocalist too. She was in a Sweet Adelines group here in Tucson that was quite renowned throughout the United States. This photo is her with our friend Mary, taken the night they won a regional competition in Phoenix before going on to the national competition. We were so happy to be with her that very special night. Now she has joined the heavenly choir To continue her mission of uplifting people with music. Rest In Peace dear friend, till we meet again ❤️
October 6, 2020
Sarasota Trailhead, Tucson
Pat, Carole, Mi-yong
November 4, 2018
October 6, 2020
We saw each other across the room at the Tumwater library. I was there to listen to the harp music. Mi-yong was going to play her harp for the harp circle. Each of us knew we knew each other, but from where? I had just moved to Tumwater, 4 1/2 years ago. Turns out we met in Tucson one winter when she attended my line dancing class. We became close friends, hiking in Tucson every week, often twice a week, and in summer, too. She taught me to make spring rolls. We just enjoyed each other's company. She will be greatly missed by many friends in Tucson and Tumwater. May she Rest In Peace.
Photo: Hiked Shingle Mill Creek to the beach, Vashon Island, 8/2018
October 5, 2020
Many happy times playing music together.
October 5, 2020
My sincere condolences to the family of Mi-Yong. My love to you all. Mi-Yong was a beautiful kind special lady.
I remember how much fun she had when she went smelting with Uncle Byron. I am sure the two of them will be chatting about it in heaven.
May God embrace you all at this difficult time and give you strength.
Love and prayers, Aunt Judy