Mary Hong Park

Posted On January 16th, 2014 -

1-16 592866   Mary ParkMARY HONG PARK Mary Hong Park, 104, of Honolulu, HI, died peacefully at home on January 3, 2014. Mary received her B.A. from the University of Hawaii during the Great Depression and worked as a social worker at Palama Settlement, touching the lives of thousands of indigent people. When Leahi Hospital began servicing tuberculosis outpatients, Mary was asked to become its first out-patient social worker. There was a large influx of Korean immigrants after the Korean War and because she spoke Korean, Mary’s services were of great importance on staff. Mary helped patients obtain social services and financial aid and adjust to life in America. Mary helped high school and university students continue their studies without interruption during treatment. And she personally sponsored families who brought relatives to the United States. Several of these patients, in addition to the three children she adopted and raised, affectionately called her Mom. With her vividly detailed memories of Hawaii from the early 1900’s, Mary was sought out by people doing research for books and papers, as well as by the Korean Broadcasting Station, to recount stories about the early Korean community in Hawaii. She received a “Light of the Orient” award from the Korean American Foundation Hawaii in 2006 for her contributions to Hawaii’s Korean community. Mary is survived by her daughters Erna Park and Susan Park, her grandchildren Chloe Stewart and Ian Bigelow, and her great-granddaughter Madison Bigelow. She was predeceased by her son Michael and her four brothers. Her family and friends will miss Mary’s observant stories of life in Hawaii in the early and mid 1900’s, her generosity, strength and indomitable spirit. A private service and scattering of ashes will be held consistent with Mary’s last wishes.

- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran