|Birth: ||Feb. 26, 1918, South Korea|
|Death: ||Nov. 19, 2011|
CHAI HO AHN, MD Medical clinician, educator, researcher, and missionary. Born on February 26, 1918 in Kyung Book, South Korea, the youngest of three children. He started life as the son of a poor backwater province farmer whose ancestor, Moon Ahn, established the first education system in Korea. As a result, he grew up yearning for education and was the first one from his village to go to high school. He went on to graduate from a teacher's college, enjoying a career as a secondary school teacher for several years. He then attended and graduated from Yonsei Medical School in Seoul, Korea during World War II. He was the medical director of the tuberculosis hospital in Masan, Korea during the Korean War. In 1954, he left his wife and four children in Korea to gain further post-graduate training in the United States, becoming a staff physician at Seaview Hospital, in Staten Island, New York. In 1959, his family joined him in Booneville, Arkansas, where he joined the medical staff of the state tuberculosis hospital. The Ahn family, at the time, was the first Korean family to ever immigrate to the American mainland as a family. Dr. Ahn credited Dr. Howard A. Rusk, his mentor, who at the time was head of the American-Korean Foundation in the Eisenhower administration, for arranging such an unprecedented immigration by meeting personally with the Korean president, Syngman Rhee. In 1962, Dr. Ahn moved with his family, to Tyler, Texas. There, he was a clinical professor in internal medicine at the University of Texas Health Center. In addition to his care of pulmonary and TB patients, he published several papers on previously little-known atypical mycobacterial pulmonary disease. He was also a long-time member of the American Medical Association and the American Chest Physicians. He eventually retired from the UT Health Center of Tyler at age 70, moving to Dallas in 1986 to be close to children and grandchildren. He maintained an internal medicine practice and also remained civically active within the Korean community of North Texas until age 90. He spent some of his last years writing an autobiography in both English and Korean, which was finally published in 1997. He was mindful of his debt to the villagers back in rural Yaechun, Korea, who had raised scholarship money allowing him to advance beyond elementary school. He never forgot them. For a period of 30 years, starting in the 1960's, he conducted numerous medical missions to the Korean countryside and his old village. He treated an estimated 5,000 tuberculosis patients, among other medical ailments, on his missions. He also set up numerous academic scholarship funds, donated medical equipment to numerous medical clinics, and donated musical instruments to various churches in the area villages. He credited his dear friends and members of the Marvin United Methodist Church in Tyler, Texas, with providing generous financial support making these endeavors possible. After 93 full years of life, Dr. Ahn passed away from pneumonia at Presbyterian hospital surrounded by his family. His proudest accomplishment was that of the success of his five children, who each achieved postgraduate degrees (3 M.D.'s and 2 Ph.D.'s) in America. The grand patriarch of the Ahn family, Chai Ho Ahn, was preceded in death by Dr. Suzanne Ahn of Dallas. He is survived by his loving wife, Mrs. Sun Duk Ahn; Reverend Mary Pak of Santa Maria, California; Dr. John Ahn of Kinston, North Carolina; Dr. Samuel Ahn of Dallas, Texas; and Dr. Richard Ahn of Dallas. His surviving descendants also include 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park
Created by: Nancy Leshikar Hébert
Record added: Nov 24, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 80935874