Korean American community leader, activist dies at 100

July 30, 2015
Park Young-chang

Park Young-chang

By Christine Ha

Park Young-chang, a Korean American church community figurehead, pastor and independence activist, died Tuesday night in Los Angeles two weeks following the death of his wife, Park Jung-ae.

He was 100.

Born in Youngbyon County, Pyongyang Province, in what is now North Korea on May 28, 1915, Park was a natural leader.

As the son of independence fighter Park Kwan-joon, he was imprisoned in 1939 after resisting worship at the Japanese empire’s Shinto shrines during its rule over Korea.

Park, who escaped to China, spent six years there in political exile before turning to Korea after the death of his father in prison. Soon after, he watched as Korea found independence.

As a graduate of Hosei University, Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, Yeonhee University (now Yonsei University) and Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, Park acted as YMCA assistant administrator and later as its Tokyo general affairs manager before serving as college chaplain at Myongji University.

In 1969, Park arrived in America, set up a church and took on a succession of roles that placed him squarely as a community leader.

He was adviser to the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles and the National Unification Advisory Council of Los Angeles, and headed church-related Korean American organizations that included the Council of Korean Churches in Southern California and Kwangbok Association USA.

Park is survived by one son and three daughters.

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