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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Pillar of Korean American Community remembered: Funeral service honors late lawyer William Pyoung Soo Min

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Bereaved family members, including the late lawyer’s wife Carol Min (R), greet mourners during the funeral of the late lawyer William Pyoung Soo Min at the Berendo Street Baptist Church in Los Angeles on June 10. [Sangjin Kim]
The Korean American community mourns the loss of a pillar. A funeral service was held at 10 a.m. on June 10 at the Berendo Street Baptist Church in Los Angeles to remember the late lawyer William Pyoung Soo Min, who passed away on June 1.

The funeral service was attended by Consul General Youngwan Kim, Sukhee Kang from the General Services Administration, Byung Chul Park from Everest Trading Corp, Tammy Chung Ryu, Judge Ann Park, and Young W. Ryu, president of the Korean Community Lawyers Association.

The service began with a video highlighting the life of the deceased, followed by a piano performance of the “Lord’s Prayer” and a condolence song. Throughout the funeral service, the attendees recognized William Pyoung Soo Min’s dedication to the Korean community over the past 60 years and his often-unacknowledged acts of kindness.

Pastor James Lee, who presided over the service, shared his personal experience, saying, “Mr. Min was a benefactor who stood by me when I needed legal help for a mistake I made as a young man and helped me find a new path. It was an honor to be able to partake in his farewell.”

During his tribute, Consul General Youngwan Kim remarked, “Attorney Pyoung Soo Min was a dependable pillar and compass. Throughout his life, he was a civic activist and a lawyer who championed the rights and political empowerment of Korean Americans.”

Hanna Kim, a lawyer and former president of the Korean-American Democratic Committee, delivered a memorial address, stating, “The deceased cared deeply about the future of the Korean-American community and dedicated more time to the second generation than anyone else. When the LA riots occurred on April 29, he used his personal funds to establish the Korean American Legal Found with community lawyers, providing free legal consultations for the riot victims.”

Sukhee Kang expressed his admiration, saying, “Mr. Min was a true man of his time and a pioneer who devoted his life to the Korean American community, pouring all his passion into the cause. I have the utmost respect for him, as he has had a tremendous positive impact on my political career over the past 25 years. When I first ran for the Irvine City Council in 2004, he traveled long distances to campaign with me, distributing flyers to residents. I became the first Asian American councilmember in Irvine because voters believed in his integrity and voted accordingly.”

Judge Tammy Chung Ryu, the first Korean-American female judge in California, remarked, “Mr. Min never ceased to help those in need, wherever and whenever he could. Many politicians and lawyers owe their careers to his recommendations and support.”

Other mourners remembered him as “a person who showed us what it means to serve and taught us to be voices for the underprivileged.” They expressed their desire to follow in his footsteps and advocate for justice and love.

Born in Seoul in 1933, William Pyoung Soo Min came to Los Angeles with his family at the age of 15, following his father, the late Hee Shik Min, who served as the first Consul General of Korea in Los Angeles. In 1975, he was admitted to the California State Bar, becoming the third Korean-American and the second in Southern California to do so. He practiced criminal law for 48 years.

As a pillar of the Korean American community, he founded the Korean American Bar Association of Southern California (KABA) in 1983 and served on the board of the Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYC) from 1975 to 1983.

He was also the first Korean-American commissioner of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from 1983 to 1987.

In the aftermath of the LA riots, he served as president of the Korean American Legal Advocacy Foundation (KALAF), which provided legal representation for business owners affected by the riots. In 1995, he was the president of the Los Angeles Central Lions Club.

His contributions to the Korean American community included his involvement in establishing Korean American Day in 2004, and the naming of Charles Kim Elementary School (2006), Young Oak Kim Academy (2009), and Sammy Lee Elementary School (2013) in Koreatown. He also served as the first president of the International Korean Educators Network (IKEN) in 2010.

According to his wishes, William Pyoung Soo Min’s remains were cremated and will be buried once the burial site is determined.

BY NICOLE CHANG   [support@koreadaily.com]