Rev. Yoo I. Peal
, the Honorably Retired Pastor of the former Korean United Presbyterian Church, died after a lengthy illness on Sunday, April 23 and was memorialized during a funeral the following Tuesday. He was 89 years old.
Rev. Peal served many years as pastor of the Korean United Presbyterian Church, which joined with another local Korean congregation and was chartered in 1995 as New Life Presbyterian Church. Rev. Peal retired the year before the new congregation was established; however, he remained a member of the Presbytery of Baltimore until his death.
Rev. Peal was born in North Korea in 1927 and moved to Chicago, Ill. in the 1950s to attend college. While there, Rev. Peale received a degree in library science and a Master's of Divinity degree. He later married Hae Kyung Kim and the couple moved to Baltimore where Rev. Peale worked at Central Enoch Pratt Library on Cathedral Street. Meanwhile, he began growing his ministry and was instrumental in establishing the Korean United Presbyterian Church, which was once a cultural fixture in the metro area's thriving Korean community.
Rev. Peale's nephew, Tony Kim, recalled that back then there were so few Korean Presbyterian churches in the region that families came from all over Maryland -- as well as, Virginia, Washington DC, Delaware and Pennsylvania -- to worship with others from their culture at the little Korean United Presbyterian Church in mid-town Baltimore. As its membership grew, the church relocated to northeast Baltimore and later to 1501 N. Rolling Road, where it merged with another Korean congregation to become New Life Presbyterian Church.
During his retirement, Rev. Peal traveled, worked on an autobiography and offered spiritually counseling to others. Both his wife and their son, Sung, preceded him in death. He is survived by a host of family and friends.