The Rev. Chang Ho Kim, an influential figure in the civic and spiritual life of Baltimore's Korean American community, died Nov. 2 after a long illness. He was 80 years old.
A lifelong Presbyterian, Rev. Kim was ordained in the Presbytery of Baltimore in 1993 and served as an organizing pastor for the now defunct Salt and Light new church development, which was succeeded by New Life Presbyterian Church. New Life was chartered in 1995 under Rev. Kim's leadership. He became a prominent leader in the Korean American community during his 16-year tenure there, and was particularly, instrumental in building affordable housing for older Korean adults alongside the church's property.
Rev. Kim's civic accomplishments were largely founded in his Christian belief of helping those in need. As a leader in the Korean community, he assisted newly immigrated Koreans in finding apartments and jobs and registering their children in school. He raised funds to support social, educational and cultural activities. He also offered translation services, taught Bible studies as well as U.S. Naturalization classes - helping more than 70 Korean seniors obtain U.S. citizenship.
Rev. Kim was born in the town of Ue Joo in North Korea. In letters to the Presbytery, he described himself as a devoted Christian throughout his youth and an
an active member of the Officers' Christian Union while serving in the Korean Air Force. Rev. Kim later moved to the United States and settled in Philadelphia before relocating to Baltimore in the late 1960s to begin his academic career as well as a calling as a spiritual leader in the American Korean community.
He had an extensive academic and business background. In addition to obtaining a religious degree from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., rev. Kim received a law degree from Seoul National University in Korea; a Master of Science in Library Science Degree from Drexel University in 1969; and, a Master in Administrative Science Degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1977. In the 1970s he was employed in library services division of two local community colleges. And, for a while in the late 1980s, he owned Ruxton Cleaners in Baltimore.
Rev. Kim retired from ministry in 2009. During his leisure he enjoyed reading and traveling, spending time in Korea before returning to Laurel, MD, where he resided at the time of his death. A private service for Rev. Kim was held Nov. 5 at Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral establishment in Baltimore; and, his body was interred at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
Rev. Kim is survived by his wife, Mrs. Heh Kyung; two adult sons, Andrew and Benjamin and their wives; two grandsons; three granddaughters and a host of family and friends in the United States and Korea.