- On August 9, 2022
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Joon Park, 86, of Silver Spring, MD, died on July 23, 2022. He passed away surrounded by his wife and children in Mount Lebanon, PA, due to complications from Parkinson’s. Joon Park was born in Seoul, Korea on August 28, 1935, to father Jae-won Park and mother Kyung-soon Lee. He joined the military and rose to the rank of sergeant, working as military police. After leaving the military in 1962, he worked for the South Korean Department of Labor.
In 1961, he met Dong-Soo Sohn while she was working as a pharmacist at a military clinic. They fell in love and got married, which was somewhat unusual in Korea at that time when arranged marriages were the norm. They had three children, Lynda Yoonsun Park, Annabel Sohyun Park, and Steven Junghoon Park. The Park family immigrated to the United States in 1978 seeking better education and life opportunities for the children. Like many immigrant families, Joon and Dong-Soo worked extremely hard and long hours running various small businesses from a burger stand to a truckstop diner in Houston, TX, to a Tae Kwon Do studio, a thrift store, and finally a furniture store in Washington, DC. Joon retired in 2017 when he was 81.
Joon deeply loved and cared for his family, especially his children and grandchildren. He worked hard to provide his children with every opportunity in life and never demanded that they take a particular career path. He especially cherished being a grandfather and loved his four grandchildren with every fiber of his being. He also cared and gave generously to those in need, especially near his businesses in Washington, DC. He was known by others as kind and compassionate. At his longest-running business, Value Thrift which evolved into Value Furniture and Mattress (1986-2017), he built a deep sense of community with his employees many of whom he employed for more than 15 years as well as his loyal customers.
After the success of Value Thrift, not only did he start a Tae Kwon Do studio in an under-resourced neighborhood to provide an outlet for youth, Joon also supported his son Steve to start Little Lights Urban Ministries inside the business. Award-winning nonprofit Little Lights has served vulnerable youth and families for over 26 years. Joon received a Change Agent Award for his work in the community from the DC Mayor’s Office. His work in the community was highlighted in the Washington Post and reprinted in the Reader’s Digest.
In addition to his wife Dong-Soo and his children Lynda, Annabel, and Steve, Joon is survived by his grandchildren, Alexandra McDonough, Kieran McDonough, Kayla Park, and Dylan Park. He was preceded in passing by his sister Hae-Ja Park.
A private memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 6, at 6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT. Please send memorial donations to Little Lights.