Life Fullfilled
Young H. Cho "Young"

(writen by Yo-Yoon, her husband)












Young's Mom & Dad



Young's mom and dad had a wonderful life together, their marriage lasted over 70 years, and they died 6 months apart, at age 94 and 97. They had 8 children: three sons and five daughters, and twenty grand children.

Earlier on they set "Prestige of Im Family - Family Honor" as -


They had tried to live just like an average everyday family.

Jawbin Im




Young used to say that she is so blessed to have a father like hers - I could perhaps understand why. He was born in an Oriental Medicine family in Korea. But his younger educations were in the finances. He worked for a bank through his adult life. When he retired at age of 55, which was a mandatory retirement age at that particular time in Korea, he was a branch office manager in Seoul, the capital city. He self-taught Oriental Medicine before his retirement, and became a licensed Oriental Medicine doctor by the time he was forced to retire. Thus started his second carrier which lasted another 40 years.

He seems always eager to learn new things, and adventurous - one time, he raised chickens and converted one bedroom for chick hatchery; another time, converted his backyard for full of bee hives to raise honeybees. Then he was accredited  to be a notable writer. He wrote and published about 20 nonfictions books.

When their children were born, the  Korean society then was still preferring sons over daughter. But, he had a firm conviction that they should be equal. His children, incluging daughters, all has "-Hyuk" in the second part of the first names such as "Young-Hyuk", "Koo-Hyuk", or "Bo-Hyuk".



He had a dream of going abroad (Japan) to study the medicine and becoming a medical doctor. Instead, his parents found a girl and arranged a marriage. He gave up that dream to support his new family, and worked for a bank until age 55. He sent his first son, Koo-Hyuk, to Seoul National University (SNU) to study the medicine. Koo-Hyuk received both a Ph. D. and MD from SNU. He became an Orthopedic Surgeon. Even some later years, I noticed lively discussion among them on illness and treatment by the Western and by the Oriental medicines.

Young was the fifth out of eight children (fourth out of five girls). Her birthday is March 31. In Korea, the fiscal year ends March 31. He got the yearend bonuses on March 31 as well as promotions on those days. He always brought birthday cakes and treats on Young's birthdays, he used to say "you are my luckiest girl!". He often said, "Young has my good genes most!". I definitely agree with it; good laughter, curiosities in new things, adventurous, etc.

When Young's book made to the top ten bestseller's lists on Kyobo-Books and others, he was so overjoyed, claiming, "finally, one of my kids find my love of writings!!"


Oakwha Park



Young's father was transferred to manage a branch office in Seoul, they bought a Western style house built on a vacated lot of an old Buddhist temple, which was on a notch of Ahyun Hilltop. It commands a great view. However, you have to walk up or down over hundred steps everyday to commute - healthy exercises!!

Her mom's daily chores include going to the market, and then carrying foodstuffs up the steps. Her yards was full of flowers and plants. She cared them like kids. Young's love of flowers and plants - just got from her mom.

All the messes Young's dad had left, were her mom's  to clean and tide. Young got these from her mom, too.

Her mom always has sympathy for someone else's sufferings. Young got that from her mom, too.







Young's brothers


Koo-Hyuk (3)    Bo-Hyuk(7)     Chang-Hyuk(8)


Koo-Hyuk(1st son, 3rd of 8) was smart and deligent. He went through all the requrement to receive the board certifed Orthopedic Surgent, and then another two years to recive a Ph.D. He still wanted pursue further. He came to a US Hospital, Euclid Hospital near Cleveland, OH.  They didn't give him any credits for his earlier trainning and informed he has to start from an intern program. Soon, he quit and returned to Korea to start a practice with his own clinic. His clinic grew to a 50-bed hospital.

He exersized deligently - he played tennis with his buddies every morning before going to his office. When he turned 60, he switched from playing single to double. But, he was still sticking to his routines. He avoided the elevators if possible and choose the steps. He slept early, 9pm, and only about 4~5 hours. His spleeping habit was just like Young's. Whenever, they got together, they talk, slept little, and continue talking, a third person like me, who slept normal 8 hours, believed they talk all night through.

One morning, at his usual tennis routine, he gave an over-stretched tennis serve, and he felt bad pains. He found that shoulder bone as well as his six ribs were cracked. They found not only his bone density was low, but he was suffering from Leukemia. Few months later, he passed and he wasn't 80 yet. He and Young always believed they have excellent genes from their parents who stay alived 97 and 94.

Koo-Hyuk has two sons, Sejung, physician and Minjung, professor in electronics, and a dughter who owns a floral shop.


Bo-Hyuk(2nd son, 7th of 8) is gifted in writing and in poetry. However, he was forcibly advised to study computer science. Later, he quit his engineering job, and his girlfriend left him soon after. He stayed living with his eldery parents giving care for them. After his parents passed, he married and moved to Jaejoo Island.


Chang-Hyuk(3rd son, 8th of 8) was physically outstanding. He served Korean Army as a Green Beret. After serving military, he married his sweetheart, and moved to LA.

When we got an urgent call from Chang-Hyuk's wife that he was sick, we were living in Pittsburgh. Young rushed to LA. However, before Young arrived his bedside, he passed. It was an incrediably accute Leukemia.

Chang-Hyuk wasn't even 30. He has one daughter, Rita




Young's sisters


Young(5) with Soon-Hyuk(1) and Im-Hyuk(2)                       Young(5) with Jung-Hyuk(4) and Myung-Hyuk(6)


Soon-Hyuk(1st daughter, 1st of 8) loved teaching, and became a grade school teacher. One time she was the teacher in charge of Young's class. Young was mostly enjoyed the situations. Soon-Hyuk married an accountant, and they have four children: Jae-Hyun (girl), Young-Base (son), Jae-Hwang (son) and Jae-Hui (girl).

Soon-Hyuk suffered an Osteoporosis like her mom and passed in her mid 80th.


Im-Hyuk(2nd daughter, 2nd of 8) married an educator. They both developed old age dementia in their mid 80th. They have three sons: Hyun-Koo, Jun-Koo and Soon-Koo. Soon-Koo is care giver for parents


Jung-Hyuk(3rd daughter, 4th of 8) met her brother Koo-Hyuk's best budy, DI Cho, earlier on. They eagerly waited until Jung-Hyuk finished her college degree and then got married. DI was one of first ham radio operators in Korea. His callsign was HM1AJ. He made Jung-Hyuk also an ham. Her callsign was HM1AM.

I was also an ham with callsign, HM1AB. DI and Jung-Hyuk introduced her sister, Young, to me. This is how all happend!!

They have three sons: Woong-Koo (Willy), Choong-Koo(Charlie) and Joong-Koo (Johnny).


Myung-Hyuk(5th daughter, 6th of 8) met her husband when she was teaching at one of junior highschools in Seoul. They came to San Jose, CA. They have a son, Michael and daughter, Michelle.


Young-Hyuk Im, "Young"


Young was about one year old on her mom's lap


By the time Young's was born, her father was a bank branch manager and her family was considered to be the middle income in social ladder.


Early years



Ewha University



After Ewha


Young received BA degree in Education from Ewja Univeristy. She had a junior high teaching certificate. But teaching jobs she could find were in places outside Seoul. She also find a job at a bank near her home. The bank offered twice higher pay. She decided on the banking job - what an excellent move!! This lead us to meet!!


One Potato, Two Potato



On one late afternoon, I claimed that I am going to see a movie. I made an open invitations - "Any one? it's on me!". There were DI, Jung-Hyuk, Young and few others. DI and Jung-Hyuk pushed Young saying "Why don't you join him!" Young agreed, and this was the start of dating. The movie was "One Potato, Two Potato". It was an inter-racial love stroy. 42 years later, we were able to get a copy of this movie, and watch it on our 40th anniversary (2007).

I took ROTC during my college, became an active duty officer, and assigned to Korean Military Academy near Seoul as a professor. For next two years, We dated almost daily.



Aside from movies, concerts, etc., our favorite places include KwangReung (now, Korea National Arboretum) for toll trees, Inchun for seeing mingling of boats and sea, and for the fun at nightclub Lido which was part of Olympos Hotel in Inchun. We had a summer vacation together at HaeWoonDae Beach (East cost of Korea). We were engaged, then, but both my and Young's parents didn't know it was two alone.


Best Freiends


In about a month we dated, Young, with a serious look in her face, confessed that we cannot go on. She said "I like you! I may fall in deeper love. I am older than you, our children would laugh at us saying 'My mom is older than dad!!'" I protested,  "You are older by about 10 month. We are virtually the same age. I like you to be my best friend and buddy for our whole life. I promise you we would be best friends untill we die!!" Then she looked at me with startling eyes, and proclaimed, "OK, we will be best friends forever, I will take care of you from now on!!" So, we became best friends for next 50 years.

This was our marriage propose. We told both parents about our decisions. Young was 23 and I was 22. Young's parents accepted me for my potentials. My parents thought we were too young, but in the end, accepted and shared our happiness.






Coming to America


I applied for graduate studies at a half of dozen US universities and was accepted with a financial aid at University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. We were married on the paper in Korea, but the actual wedding was planed in Harvard, MA. My brother Yohan and his wife, Rumie, did all the preperations for us. Anyway, I left Korea in Agust, 1967 for the 67 fall simester. Young left Korea October, 67 and went directrly to Boston for the wedding.

After dayily datings, it was tough for both of us to be seperated. We wrote daily letter, but the responses took too long. To make an oversea call to Korea, you had to reserve a call about 4 hours ahead of the time. It was very expensieve, too. We talked on the phone twice total. Young came to US and stayed at Yohan's until the wedding.



When I got Columbia, the first thing I did was renting an apartment for the married students. I had only $300 on hand, but I needed $600 for Young's air-fare. I went to a local bank for a loan. I bought basic furnitures on 90-day plan. I had learned you could do those things on the credit in US!



On Thanksgiving Day, 1967, we had our wedding in Harvard, MA




Dr. Sang Hyun Lee, who just got Ph.D. from Harvard and was ordained, officiated our wedding which was his first ever. Our reception was at Yohan's home. We had our honeymoon at DC, and came down to Columbia, SC. It was freezing in Boston and DC, but sunny and some 75 degrees was waiting for us to settled down in Columbia..




Spring in Columbia is just gorgeous. For flower-lovers like Young, it was just the perfect place to live. She was already assembling flowers-plants she would get hands on. There is a big body of water called Lake Murray near Columbia. It is so huge and offered various water recreations. We did fishing and boating with friends. Young, especially, loved fishing.




Young was good in math. Working two years at a bank in Korea, made her really good in calculations, counting bills. After a brief interview, she got a job in Profit-Loss (PL) department of K-Mart in West Columbia. Her officemates were all amazed how well she did her tasks. Her coworkers, Francis and Marian, used to say, "tiny Young does more than two of us combined!!"


Esther Misong, "Mimi"


Young learned from a regular OBGYN checkup that she was pregnant. Being in US just one year, we weren't quite mentally prepared to have children. However, we knew, rightaway, this was the greatest blessing and elated knowing we are bringing  a fruit of our own love to this world!!

Then I had steady works through my thesis adviser in addition to school aids. Combining Young's salary from K-Mart, we were financially capable to have a baby. We moved to a newer and better aprtment, Columbia Gardens. K-Mart coworkers gave Young a baby-shower.



My farther wrote us, "If son, name him 'Abraham', if daughter, name her 'Esther'"




She was born  in the Baptist Hospital of the City of Columbia on Fathers Day, June 15, 1969.  So, we name her "Esther Misong Cho". Misong means "beautiful Pinetree" in Korean. We saw really tall and beatifull pine trees in South Carolina. We start calling her by "Mimi".


We came US as two, but we are three now! We received our Green Card(permanent residency). I had completed the course work requirements for Ph.D. but wiriting the dissertation. I applied for and got a job with the Engineering Department of the City of Columbia, later promoted to the Assistant City Engineer.

My parent came to US. They decided to live near us in South Carolina. We bought a house in West Columbia, two cars, a Color TV, piano and ham radio equipments. Thus, our 'American dream' had started!




Moving to Pittsburgh




After successfully defending my PhD thesis, I started looking for a new job that values my PhD degree. I was offered a consultant position from a prestigious firm, D'Appolonoa, in Pittsburgh, PA. We were over joyed, and accepted the position. During the house hunting trip, We couldn't find a house we like. So we agreed to build one. Three of us left Columbia, SC and on a 600-mile journey through West Virginia in November, 1973. We had some events including a flat tire on one of the high mountains. We got Pittsburgh in the evening instead of afternoon.



We drove through Fort Pitt Tunnel under the Duquesne Hights. Thousand lights from Three Rivers and Pittsburgh night scene greeted us. All three of us screamed, "They are welcoming us!!" Our Pittsburgh life had started with a great note. D'Appolonia was located about 10 miles east of downtown Pittsburgh. We found a lot to built our house, about 10 miles further east from the D'Appolonia, in Monroeville. We rented an apartment walking distance from the lot. Young watched our new house going up almost daily. It was contemporary with three spacious badrooms and large masterbath upstairs, cathedral ceiling family room, den, formal dining room, living room and large kitchen. Young later had built a 24x16 sunroom attached back of the house, and finished basement for the children. We used to get comments, "too big a house for just three of you!!". They, neither we, didn't know, how our family would get grow!!

While we were all busy selecting various options for the new house and visualizing different selections, we, three of us, were very amicable most of the time. Even the builder was supprised. He said, " it is not rare to see the husband and the wife argue, but ending up seperating." The true was, earlier on,  Mimi and I delegated the final say to Young!.



Michelle Emmy


Young gave us a great news on my birthday (Febuary, 1974) that she is pregnant! Mimi was so elated to learn she would have a younger sibling! We felt we were really blessed, a new job, a new house, then  a new baby!! My father wrote, if a boy name him "Abraham" a girl?! It was a girl and we name her Michelle Emmy Cho. Emmy in Korean meansd "Love Beauty". Michelle came home around our 7th aniversary. She was a relaxed, good and easy baby.



Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) started a Suzuki Violin program for young kids. Young enrolled Michelle at age 3. Young drove about 15 miles every Saturday. She took dancing lessons earlier on. She was awarded 8-Year-Old Ballet Division Champion.



You may click here to see Michelle's additional pictures in our family web site of 1980 ~ 2000.


Melissa Sunmi


My mom, who was living with my dad in South carolina, got a flu-shot and in few days later she passed. At that time Young was expecting any days then, we couldn't go to the funeral in Boston, MA.  Young and I felt so bad. Especially, my mom loved Young most among the daughters-in-law. A fifth member of our family came to us at this moment. So we felt deeply that an older generation passes and a newer generation comes, and  we can try the legacy continues.

We named her Melissa Sunmi. Sunmi means "Good-natured and Beatiful" in Korean. She was good laughing baby. She always brought joys to the family. When started walking, she was clmsy side.But later on she started following Michelle's dancing and then her own.




Friends and neighbors used to say, "Now, we understand why you built such a big house!! Three girls!!" - They thought it was end!

You may click here to see Malissa's additional pictures in our family web site of 1980 ~ 2000.


Abraham Tahan


Few months after Melissa's birth, Young noticed she was gaining, instead of loosing, her weights. Her doctor gave a supprinsing news, "You are pregnant, again!". Young replied, "I am breast feeding Melissa like I did for all others?!" The doctor said it still could. We were still overjoyed the news. Young was somewhat afraid saying, "Melissa is stiill baby and bring an another infant!!" I comforted her, "other people has a twin and they are still OK!, I will cut down my works, and take care of Melissa when the bay comes home". Mimi said "Don't worry, mom. I will help, too!" So, actually, Melissa became my baby and Mimi helped a lot, too.

It became the top news among the Korean community in Pittsburgh that Young  pregnated again, after three girls. Young and I was totally convinced that "a girl" or "a boy" doesn't matter, but an healthy baby is all we wanted. It was a boy and we named him Abraham Tahan. Tahan means "Greater Korea". We call him by "Abe". Whole community celebrated. He was a good baby, as well as outstanding character. His dentist, my ham radio friend, told me that "your son fell to sleep in my dental chair. I haven't seen any of my patients, kids or adults. They all get stressed!"




You may click here to see Abe's additional pictures in our family web site of 1980 ~ 2000.


Life in Pittsburgh


Living costs in Pittsburgh was very reasonable, and  my incomes through D'Appolonia was more than sufficient for a comfortable livings for six of us. Young and I have agreed that our goal for kids are to grow them in good health and to be decent humanbeings who love fellow beings, instead of stressing them to be exceptionally ahead of classes, or anything like that.

Young was somewhat strict for the kids but never off from the basic love. Instead of scolding she preferred encouragements most of the times. All four kids have siblings love than sibling rivals. Melissa used to say her best friend is Michelle, her sister. When growing up, Abe was very close to his sister, Melissa.




We became member of  the Korean Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh. Later I was ordaned as a deacon. Young put lots of efforts of growing wemans group of the church, and later became the president of the group. She raised a considerable funds for an endowment for Korean second generation pastors at the Princeton Seminary.

She proposed to publish a monthly church megazine. She proposed and accepted by congrations the name of the megazine "Somang " which means hope in Korean, not our hope but God's hope. The magazine is still published. She was asked numerous times to be ordained, but she did not accept it because she didn't get the calling from Him.


Young started her tennis. She was very athletic and she loved playing tennis. She joined the Racquet Club of Monroeville, and played at least 3 times a week. One day she seriously asked perhaps we move to a new place where we can build a tennis court. We started looking for a new lot large enough to build the court. We found a five acre lot in the next town, Murrysville. So, we put the down payment to the builder.

However, no one ever suspected, there would be a new reality waiting for us. D'Appolonia was a 500-professional consulting firm. Selecting and evaluating newer nuclear power plant sites for domestic and international clients were the main works. After Three Mile Island acidents, the most utilities  had tabled their projects.




Moving to Boston



Unexpectably I was offered a corporate consultant position from Stone & Webster Engineering (S&W) in Boston. It was a top Architectural Engineering firm with over 20,000 employees. The corporate consultant position  with S&W ment within the top 20 management rankings. I was overjoyed, but hasitent of leaving D'Appolonia, because I loved my works. We were also very well established in our community, then. Young has convinsed me that it would be an excellent opportunity for me, but also for kids, too. I had agreed with her and informed Paul Rizzo, my friend and Present & CEO of D'Appolonia. Paul tried to convince me, but no prevail. At that time, Paul didn't know himself would be fired in three months. We lived 11 years in Pittsburgh.

We agreed to build our dream house in Boston instead of Murrysville. We found a lot in Natick, suburb of Boston. It would be much more expensive to build the same house in Boston than in Murrysville. Young wished to have kids grow up and share the family experience, now. We figured we could afford before they go to colleges. So, we went ahead.

Our Natick house was a large comtemporary: it had two story high foyer with marble floor; two story high open space living room; Young add a 600 sq ft sun room next to family room and, of course, the tennis court. If was featured in a local paper with title, "Light" - yes, it was open and lighted house. It also had a three-level pond for fish and birds.





Excellent Cleaners


One of our friends friend visited from LA one day. While he was in Ph D course in UCLA, he worked his wife's family business of dry cleaning. With his Ph D, he got a job with a well known construction company in LA. However, he was seriously thingking of opening a dry cleaning business of his own. He emphasized that dry cleaning is a service business and no left over inventory headaches.  Young really like those points, started preperation for her own dry cleaning business. First, she found one local owner was retiring and sold his business. She offered three months her work without pay. Actually, it lasted four or five months. She learned in-and-out of the business. There was a mini-strip mall under construction in down town Natick. High rents turned off most potential tenants, but Young felt high rents mean good location. So, she signed the contract. She selected higher end good equipments. I helped her with computers (PC's) for inventory and customer database. I talked her into using barcode. About 12 years ago, Wiggly chewing gum was first barcoded retail products. We felt computers and barcodes will make potential customers feel safe.



"Excellent Cleaners" was the name selected. On the opening day, customers formed a long line. It was beyond the wildest dream!! She urgently sent SOS to our church friends, Marlboro Kims, who own and operate their drycleaning business in Marlboro, MA. We all worked past wee hours to keep time promised with customers.

Young really showed her skils in hiring employees and running the business. She regarded her employees as partners and treated well. Key workers, namely Norikko, Mr Park, stayed with her all the way until she retired, for fourteen years. Income curve showed healthy up treand. Young also had good sense of economy. She opened Excellent Cleaners II  in Ashland, MA. But in the third year, she felt the economy was getting worse, and she sold it right away without any losses.

Our church, Korean Church of Boston, joined PC USA. Young again became the president of wemens group. I was ordained as an elder. Young refused to be ordained for the same reason as in Pittsburgh. Our four kids all have good friends at their school as well as at the church. Mimi was accepted from MIT. Young and I had sticker shocks !! But, quickly we thanked god for letting us to have the financial ability to pay for it. We knew the next six years we would have two kids in colleges - Michelle went to Wellesly, Melissa went to Dartmouth, and Abe went to UMass Amhearst.

For our 25th anniversary, we went to Paris for two weeks. We rented a place in ile Saint-Louis. It was an island in River Seine, and a short walking distance from Notre Dame.  Later, I felt heartache when I saw Notre Dame in gulfed in a fire. Young loved Musee d'orsay. We visited it twice. We went Montmarte twice. We saw Janet Jackson's show there?!Often, Young would say it was the most memorable vacation she ever had. Actually, we had quite few trips: frequent trips to Korea, to various places in US; Puerto Rico; China, etc. However, Young always talked about Paris!




We really were blessed to have outstanding friends in Boston. Mimi, then later, Michelle got married when we were living in Boston. Mimi's wedding was at our church, and the reception was at Westin off Rt 128. Some 350 guests were served at the Westin. Michelle wedding was at Bar Harbor, Maine. Michelle arrainged guests wear tux and long dresses, and then served just cooked lobsters!



About two years earlier, Young started writing a book. She put lots of efforts and concentrated on it for two full years. She traveled to Korea multiple times. I found her working on it in hotel bathroom. It was on part revertal of a Japanese crtic on the Korean society, and  an entrepreneurship for international disbutes. She distributed her three-ring bounded manuscripts to six potential publishers. The Creative Writings, a well known publisher, accepted it. We were ecstatics!! Young donated all proceeds to our church fund for building domes for Korean Young-Byun College in China.




Nest Becoming Empty


Rewind several years back.  The eve before Mimi living for MIT dorm, all four kids decided to sleep in one room. Young and I felt really bad knowing Mimi, our first baby, wouldn't be in yealing distance anymore. While I was still in teary mood, Young comforted me saying we ought rather thank God keeping Mimi out of troubles becoming such a wonderful lady. She continued saying , "We have to accept she is a grown-up and it's her turn to promote humanity. That's the rule of natures, and how God created so." I replied, "I know, but.." Young gave me her unique comforting hug.

MIT dorm was about 30 minutes drive from Natick. Michelle went to Wellesley, which was only about 5 minutes from our house. She stayed at dorm, stopped by home often, dropping laundries, picking up car, getting money, ... Melissa was accpted by both Wellesley and Dartmouth. She choosed Dartmouth, which was two and half hours away. Abe's UMass Amherst was about an hour away. So, they weren't to far away, neverthless, when Abe left, we found just two of us in this huge and burstling home.

Young and I really screamed , " We are  finally free!!! No prying eyes from kids!! Let's go back to 'One Potato Two Potato' times!"  We knealed down and thanked God for letting six of us share the pinnacle of our life here in Boston together!!

Several years back, we picked up golf. Young was a bit frustraited with it, because golf is not as easy as she first thought. Yohan, my first brother, moved from Boston to a golf acommunity in Ashburn, VA. They invited us to visit their house on Belmont Country Club. They beamed they can play most of the weekdays. Instantly, Young and I knew it's the time to move down to Virginia. Young declared she is retiring, and we sold our Natick house, bought Belmont membership, and building our third house on Belmont.