Kyung Sook Ruth Hyeon
Kyung Sook Ruth Hyeon passed away on October 23 after suffering a stroke. A loving mother, a caring wife, an outstanding tailor, and the maker of the best dumplings, Kyung Sook, known to many of you as simply “Sook” or “Soo,” is survived by her husband, Inhwa Gregory Hyeon, and her three kids, Andrew, Gemma, and Cathy.
She married Gregory in 1993 and together they spirited off to America, leaving behind their culture, language, friends, and family in pursuit of a future and a dream only they could see. After years of scrounging while living in The Bronx, they took a chance with the purchase of the Pride Cleaners in Bethel. Despite never using a sewing machine before, she achieved success with her immigrant mentality and later purchased the Newtown Cleaners.
Born in Dangjin, South Korea, in March of 1965, Sook was determined to provide opportunities for her family that she never had growing up on a farm as one of six siblings. She dreamed of going to college and was devastated that she couldn’t afford to go, despite being accepted. She wanted to provide the opportunities for her children that she never had growing up. For 12 hours a day, six days a week, and for over 25 years, Sook toiled with her husband in a building that becomes a brick oven in summer and an icebox in winter, manning the front counter with a seemingly endless positive energy and an omnipresent smile. And yet, she never failed to have family dinner on the table and breakfast ready to go every single day.
To her, family was a precious commodity. Even with everything she gave, the only validation Sook needed was some quality time with the people she loved. Nothing gave her more pleasure than a nice dinner on the porch while watching a sunset with her husband and kids or a relaxing evening with them watching a movie or Korean drama at home. She absolutely loved the ocean and became a little girl whenever she went, spending so much time in the water even though she didn’t know how to swim. Sook was hard on those she loved. She showed her love through nagging and nagged enough for two lifetimes. She was tough and resilient and made sure to pass those traits on to her children as she drove them to be successful in their endeavors. When her youngest daughter was accepted to Harvard after sending the other two kids to Wesleyan and Yale, Sook broke into tears and proclaimed that she had realized her American dream. Very often, her love also came in the form of food. Whenever her children came back home to visit, Sook would send them back with enough homemade food to eat for a month. She was looking forward to learning golf with her family, passing on the secrets of making kimchi and stews, visiting her family in Korea, and finally retiring. Knowing how important health is, she fed her family only the healthiest ingredients, ordered Chinese medicines, sent them kicking and screaming to acupuncture, and kept up her health by following YouTube exercise videos and going on two-mile walks.
Sook was a beloved member of the community and left an indelible mark on those around her. She cared for people deeply and went out of her way to help others. In countless instances, she would, without blinking, accept an emergency job to alter clothing when it meant that she would be pulling an all nighter that night. Sook cared for people on a very personal level, and always did her best because she knew how important all the little things could be. It didn’t matter if you were a friend, family, customer, or stranger, she always pulled out all the stops to help without asking for a single thing in return.
Friends and family wishing to pay their respects are invited to Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street, Newtown, on Wednesday, October 28, from 5 to 8 pm, as well as a Mass of Christian Burial at St Rose of Lima Parish, 46 Church Hill Road, Newtown, on Thursday, October 29, at 10:30 am. For those who are attending, the family requests that everyone please wear a mask and observe social distancing policies to maximize safety for everyone attending.