George Kang

January 31, 1931January 4, 2013

After nearly 82 years of accomplishing much and giving his best, George Su Kang passed away on January 4, 2013, at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California. Although his love for family and passion for life will be missed by many, his family is relieved to know he is finally resting in peace.

George was born in Seoul, Korea, on January 31, 1931, to parents Chong-Kun Kang and Bun-Bong Yun (renamed later to Hui-Sung Yoon). George’s upbringing and early experiences of adversity helped shape the forces of commitment and excellence that shine in his legacy. On June 2, 1942, at just eleven years old, George had one such experience when his father, a Methodist pastor to a large congregation, died shortly after foreign imprisonment. George’s determination led him to excel in school. In Cholwon, the town where his family lived at the time, George attended a selective all-boys high school. Eventually the family moved back to Seoul, where he graduated from Bae-Jae High School and enrolled as an electrical engineering student at the prestigious Seoul National University. During George’s early tenure in college, the Korean War broke out, and George chose to serve. George entered the Korean Air Force Academy and, after six months of hard training, became an Air Force weather officer on June 1951. He also coordinated Korean Air Force airmen for on-the-job training with the 30th U.S. Air Force Weather Squadron stationed in Korea at ten different U.S. Air Force bases. In 1954, George requested and received an honorable discharge to fulfill his desire to study electrical and electronics engineering as well as start a new life in America.

In 1958, George received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Union College in Schenectady, New York. He completed his M.S. in electronics engineering from University of Wisconsin Madison in 1960 and went into private industry for about eleven years. On November 1, 1971, George joined with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, where he spent most of his illustrious career as a research scientist in the Voice Systems Section of the Information Technology Division. Soon after his pivotal career milestone, George met and married his current wife of forty years, Sun-Hee Kim (currently Sunny Kang). They raised two sons together in Silver Spring, Maryland. By the time of his retirement in November 2, 2005, George had been recognized with seven patent-related awards, fourteen prestigious publication awards, two technology awards, and was one of only seventy-five people or groups to receive the Innovation Award in the Naval Research Lab’s 75th Anniversary celebration. After retirement, George moved to Southern California, where he worked a few more years as a consultant in a similar line of work.

In his spare time throughout his career and retirement, George was a dedicated pianist and collector who pursued a lifelong interest in many genres of music. During his youth, George taught himself to be a skilled pianist, conducted choral groups, and even garnered his own fan club. Later, his meticulous preparation of recordings, musical arrangements, lectures, demos (often with live instruments or antique audio equipment such as the Edison cylindrical record players), and programs captivated a wide range of audiences. The sharing of his passion for music enriched many lives.

As accomplished as he was in his professional life and personal interests, George was nonetheless uncompromising in his devoted attention and support to his family. He is survived by his wife Sunny; sons Eric and Andrew, and sisters Sura, Mary, and Sharon. They, along with their extended families, will profoundly miss George.

His Celebration of Life Service will be held at Pierce Brothers Memorial Park, 5600 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village, California, at 2:00 p.m. on Friday January 11, 2013. A private family gathering and viewing will be held at 1:00 p.m. The burial service will be held at 3:00 p.m., with reception on the premises following the service.



  • Funeral Service Friday, January 11, 2013


  • Reception

George Kang

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Yoon Soo Park

January 17, 2013

I am deeply saddened by his passing away. We did not see each other often ; however, I remember him as a kind, polite and polished gentleman as I met him occasionally at the NRL-Korean luncheon and his son's piano recitals. He came to my Retirement Luncheon given by ONR on January 30, 2003 at Woo Lae Oak , and he surprised me and I was delighted to see him then. He was such a considerate and thoughtful person to show up and pay respect to his senior by 2 years. I remembered the occasion and dug up one of photos taken at the Retirement Party as attached. Please convey my deep condolence to his family. I am sure his wife remembers me and I would like to know what his pianist son is doing.

Andreas Spanias

January 15, 2013

George was a great scientist, engineer and pioneer in speech coding. He was a great mentor for many of us starting in speech coding back in the early 1980s. His visits at our DSP lab at WVU always brought knowledge and valuable ideas that launched several great projects. His work was inspiring and his NRL LPC reports were a treasure. Our prayers and condolences to his family.

Andreas Spanias, ASU, Tempe AZ

Jesse Fussell

January 14, 2013

I was associated with George in the 70's and 80's while I was doing narrowband speech research at NSA. He is fondly remembered by many of us from that office.

Joe Campbell

January 14, 2013

I am deeply saddened to learn of George's passing. I feared the worst when my Christmas e-mail to him bounced this year. George was one of our nation's finest researchers - a national treasure! Not only was he brilliant, but he was also most kind and patient. I was honored to work with George and his team over the years on the dream of low-rate high-quality speech coding. He was always striving for improvements and encouraging all of us all to do likewise. George was a prolific author* and his conference presentations were thrilling. My team, led by Tom Tremain (RIP), frequently drove down the road to visit George and his team at NRL (including Larry Fransen, Stephanie Everett, and Astrid Schmidt-Nielsen). I have fond memories of those visits, where we became friends. Thanks to George's research and research he inspired, the dream of low-rate high-quality speech coding was achieved after decades of research and now it is George's time to rest in peace.

* 1980s classics by George, et al.:

Derek Brock

January 11, 2013

George was both a remarkable man and a remarkable friend and mentor. I'm lucky to have known him, and miss him greatly. Godspeed!

Long Nguyen

January 10, 2013

Eric, my prayers and condolences to your family.

John Bowman

January 9, 2013

I did a number of voice recordings for George. He was a great friend, and I will miss him.

Barbarajo (Elgin) Cox

January 9, 2013

Thank you for allowing us to express our thoughts during this time of sorrow about someone loved dearly. Those who had the pleasure of knowing George Kang were very blessed to be left with many wonderful memories - personal and work related. A very gracious and talented gentleman. I loved George for sharing his precious time with me when I stopped by his office, and gleaning of wisdom stored within his great brain and loving heart.

Siwon Park

January 9, 2013

I am very sorry to hear he passed away. George is one of the best Korean ever I have met. I am so proud of I had been with him. I hope he has peace and grace from our Lord forever. I pray he has a graceful rest. Siwon Park

Tuan Nguyen

January 9, 2013

My condolences to your family, Eric.