HomeAsian AmericansKorea Times Chicago founder Yong Wha Kim dies

Korea Times Chicago founder Yong Wha Kim dies

Yong Wha Kim, who founded Korea Times Chicago in 1971, died at the age of 87 in Glenview, Illinois, after experiencing serious injuries from a fall.

Born in Gangneung, Gangwon-do, Korea in 1936, Kim attended Kyunggi High School in Seoul before moving to the U.S. to pursue a scholarship for business administration at Greenville College in Illinois, Dignity Memorial reported. 

After college, Kim moved to Cleveland, Ohio, to work with the Gates Rubber Company. He married Jane Young Ja Yoo in 1963 and returned to Seoul for several years. Kim came back to Chicago in 1971 to start his career in the media industry. 

“He didn’t come to this country expecting that things were going to be given to him,” said his daughter Jeanney Kim to Yahoo News. “He came to this country knowing that you can achieve things if you work hard at it. That is the fabric of the story — the narrative of the American Dream.”

In 1971, he became the publisher of the Midwest’s first Korean language newspaper, the Korea Times Chicago, as well as the CEO of Korean Broadcasting Incorporated Radio, both serving as invaluable resources for the growing Korean community, ABC Chicago reported. 

Kim explained in 2017 that he struggled to retain readers and frequently experienced discrimination at his job. Kim said to the Korea Times, “I fought against indifference. There were no expectations or encouragement. I thought, ‘I have to push on,’” Yahoo News reported. 

“He understood the responsibility of his role,” said Kwangdong Jo, a former Korea Times reporter and editor, to Yahoo News. “He regarded the newspaper as an important tool to the Korean community, and regarded himself as carrying out a mission.”

Jay Kim, the former business manager of the publication, said Kim prioritized reporting on local events and initiatives to inform his immediate community, according to Yahoo News.

The Korea Times Chicago said in a statement that Kim’s goal was “providing daily news from his homeland to Korean Americans and providing vitality to their immigrant lives,”.

“He thought the newspaper had a special mission, not just sending information on what’s going on in Korea, but what’s going on in our community,” said Jay Kim to Yahoo News.

Kim is survived by his wife Jane; his children Jeffrey and Jeanney, his sons-in-law Curtis Chin and James Kim; grandson Owen Yong Wha Kim; brothers Yong Ik, Yong Yoon, Yong Kyung; and sisters Jung Min, Jung Yoon, Jung Ju, Dignity Memorial reported. 

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