After nearly 82 years of accomplishing much and giving his best, George Su Kang passed away on January 4, 2013, at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California. Although his love for family and passion for life will be missed by many, his family is relieved to know he is finally resting in peace.
George was born in Seoul, Korea, on January 31, 1931, to parents Chong-Kun Kang and Bun-Bong Yun (renamed later to Hui-Sung Yoon). George's upbringing and early experiences of adversity helped shape the forces of commitment and excellence that shine in his legacy. On June 2, 1942, at just eleven years old, George had one such experience when his father, a Methodist pastor to a large congregation, died shortly after foreign imprisonment. George's determination led him to excel in school. In Cholwon, the town where his family lived at the time, George attended a selective all-boys high school. Eventually the family moved back to Seoul, where he graduated from Bae-Jae High School and enrolled as an electrical engineering student at the prestigious Seoul National University. During George's early tenure in college, the Korean War broke out, and George chose to serve. George entered the Korean Air Force Academy and, after six months of hard training, became an Air Force weather officer on June 1951. He also coordinated Korean Air Force airmen for on-the-job training with the 30th U.S. Air Force Weather Squadron stationed in Korea at ten different U.S. Air Force bases. In 1954, George requested and received an honorable discharge to fulfill his desire to study electrical and electronics engineering as well as start a new life in America.
In 1958, George received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Union College in Schenectady, New York. He completed his M.S. in electronics engineering from University of Wisconsin Madison in 1960 and went into private industry for about eleven years. On November 1, 1971, George joined with the U.S. Department of Defense's Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, where he spent most of his illustrious career as a research scientist in the Voice Systems Section of the Information Technology Division. Soon after his pivotal career milestone, George met and married his current wife of forty years, Sun-Hee Kim (currently Sunny Kang). They raised two sons together in Silver Spring, Maryland. By the time of his retirement in November 2, 2005, George had been recognized with seven patent-related awards, fourteen prestigious publication awards, two technology awards, and was one of only seventy-five people or groups to receive the Innovation Award in the Naval Research Lab's 75th Anniversary celebration. After retirement, George moved to Southern California, where he worked a few more years as a consultant in a similar line of work.
In his spare time throughout his career and retirement, George was a dedicated pianist and collector who pursued a lifelong interest in many genres of music. During his youth, George taught himself to be a skilled pianist, conducted choral groups, and even garnered his own fan club. Later, his meticulous preparation of recordings, musical arrangements, lectures, demos (often with live instruments or antique audio equipment such as the Edison cylindrical record players), and programs captivated a wide range of audiences. The sharing of his passion for music enriched many lives.
As accomplished as he was in his professional life and personal interests, George was nonetheless uncompromising in his devoted attention and support to his family. He is survived by his wife Sunny; sons Eric and Andrew, and sisters Sura, Mary, and Sharon. They, along with their extended families, will profoundly miss George.
His Celebration of Life Service will be held at Pierce Brothers Memorial Park, 5600 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village, California, at 2:00 p.m. on Friday January 11, 2013. A private family gathering and viewing will be held at 1:00 p.m. The burial service will be held at 3:00 p.m., with reception on the premises following the service.