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Se June Hong

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Memories & Candles

“Karen and Kess, So sorry to read about Se June. I only met him a few times in Lacon, but could tell he was a wonderful man, husband and father. I...Read More »
1 of 16 | Posted by: Karen (Ehrhardt) Bailey - McNabb, IL

“Karen and Kess, We send you and all of Se June's family our deepest sympathy. We were so saddened by the news of his death. We have so many memories...Read More »
2 of 16 | Posted by: Marsha and Ron Smith - Plainfield, IL

“Also, because I am now too far from the funeral place, I cannot attend the service nor sing. But, I want to share what I sang, the title which is ...Read More »
3 of 16 | Posted by: Zong Woo "Victor" Geem - MD

“My deepest condolences. He always encouraged my humble task and idea. ”
4 of 16 | Posted by: Zong Woo "Victor" Geem - MD

“I first met Se June & Karen in an official capacity. During that visit I got to know Se June and we talked about his Kingston home and the previous...Read More »
5 of 16 | Posted by: James & Carolyn Judge - Kingston, MA

“Forty four years ago at a stag party for my brother Dan, a long time colleague of Se June's, is the occasion of my first acquaintance with Se June. ...Read More »
6 of 16 | Posted by: Philip W. Ostapko - Canton, CT

“Karen, Kess and family-we were saddened to learn of Se June's death. He was truly a kind, compassionate and loving man. We know his life touched and...Read More »
7 of 16 | Posted by: Rosana Benson - Hopewell, Il

“We remember Se June with such fond memories at YUMC. Karen, Kessely and family; our hearts go out to you as we lift you up in prayer. The favorite...Read More »
8 of 16 | Posted by: Shirley and Eric Bollin - NY

“To me, Se June is very special in that he was an extraordinary mentor/friend in my life as well as a wonderful manager in the workplace at IBM. Upon...Read More »
9 of 16 | Posted by: Ho Soo Lee - Seoul, South Korea

“Karen and family, You have my most sincere condolences at the loss of Se Jung. My prayers are with you all. ”
10 of 16 | Posted by: Karin Squires - Saugerties, NY

“Se June was a warm and caring gentleman, witty and kind, eternally enthusiastic, a proud Grandfather, a good friend and a Great Soul! Karen and...Read More »
11 of 16 | Posted by: Tom Donnelly - Kingston, MA

“I did not realized that your message at FB is the last with you. I want to share your message with your family members: "Hi, Dr. Woo I have...Read More »
12 of 16 | Posted by: Jongwook Woo - Los Angeles, CA

“To Karen, Kessly and family, We did not know Se June long but will fondly remember him as a warm and giving guy who always made us feel...Read More »
13 of 16 | Posted by: David and Ria Johnson - NY

“Se June.......You are already missed. truly, you made the world smile through your giving spirit. in a short time of knowing you (and Karen) you...Read More »
14 of 16 | Posted by: Amy L. Troup - Halifax, MA

“What fond memories we have of Se June and Karen. During our life in Yorktown Heights, we enjoyed many happy occasions with Se June at YUMC and at...Read More »
15 of 16 | Posted by: Pat and Bill Davis - Knoxville, TN

“You are ALL in our thoughts and prayers during this time of Uncle SeJune's passing. Wishing we could be there with you ALL!!!!!!! ”
16 of 16 | Posted by: James, Mac, Dietrich and Camille Pryor - AZ


Se June Hong passed away on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, November 26, 2015, following a lengthy hospitalization for pneumonia. He was born on May 15, 1944, in Seoul, Korea, to Eo Kil Hong (father) and Oak Soon Sohn (mother). Following the onset of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, Se June's family fled Seoul to take refuge first in Pusan, and then on Jeju Island off Korea's southern coast, where he attended the Seogwipo grade school. In 1953, the family was able to return to their home in Seoul, where Se June was able to skip a grade in elementary school. He graduated from a brand-new co-ed middle school affiliated with Ewha Women's University in 1958, from which he continued on to the affiliated high school. He served as the chair of his high school council during his senior year, and was valedictorian of his graduating class. He loved math and science, and his favorite toy was an Erector set his mother brought back from a trip to the US. He also participated in a new children's radio program. He learned English from his mother (who had studied nursing in Australia) and by watching American movies on TV. With the help of his teachers and family who provided financial support and illustrations, he self-published an English textbook called "English as Conversation" while studying at Seoul National University. He also designed and built a large-scale working glider and worked on designing an efficient car engine. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering from Seoul National University in 1965 at age 20.

After his college graduation, he moved to the United States with the maximum amount of currency allowed to be taken out of the country: $50, hidden in his shoe for safety. After arriving in Los Angeles, California, he visited the family of his mother's acquaintance, C.R. Allen, who died shortly before Se June's arrival. Mr. Allen's family made good on his promise to provide $1,000 to Se June, which sustained him while he applied to graduate schools. Se June attended the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, where he received MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1967/1969. Later, Se June established and made regular contributions to a scholarship fund for foreign graduate students in computer science, named after Mr. Allen, to honor his early benefactor. (More recently, the scholarship fund was renamed the Hong/McCully/Allen fund).

On August 31, 1968, while still in graduate school, Se June married Karen Fay McCully in Lacon, Illinois, and was warmly embraced by her large family. After graduation, Se June accepted a job at IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY, working in the areas of fault tolerant computing and design automation. His only child, daughter Kessely Corea, was born in Poughkeepsie. The family returned to Urbana- Champaign for the year 1974-1975 while Se June was a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Illinois in Computer Science, after which he returned to IBM. He transferred to IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, in 1978. He was a senior manager in the Mathematical Sciences Department (1982-1991), responsible for projects in natural language, computer algebra, computer based education, knowledge based systems and data analytics. He did pioneering work in mathematical foundations of artificial intelligence. He was on assignment as senior staff to the Office of the VP of Technical Plans and Controls at Yorktown Heights (June 1991-Oct. 1992), and returned as a senior manager of the computer science principles group in the Mathematical Sciences Department, (1992-1994). In his later years at IBM, he continued to make contributions, such as a novel approach to data abstraction based on circuit minimization techniques. He retired from IBM in 2002, but for several years afterward continued on as a research staff member emeritus, working on data mining technology.

He has served as a Visiting Professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and POSTECH, both in South Korea. In 2000, he was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of the ECE Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana. He was a Life Fellow of IEEE and a member of ACM, AAAI, KSEA, and Sigma Xi. He became a foreign member of the National Academy of Engineering of Korea in 1997.

Se June received an Honorable Mention Award for Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer in 1975 from Etta Kappa Nu. He holds 25 US patents and received seven levels of IBM invention achievement awards. He also has an Outstanding Invention Award (1973) and two Outstanding Innovation Awards (1977, 1982) and an Outstanding Technical Achievement Award (1986) from IBM. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the EECS department of the University of Illinois in 1989 and also received from the University its Orange Loyalty Award (2001) and Marcia Peterman Award for service to alumni affairs (2003). He received the IEEE Computer Society's Certificate of Appreciation in 1995.

Se June always enjoyed being active in his community. When he lived in Poughkeepsie, he was on the Board of Directors of the Mid-Hudson Arts and Science Center (1972-1978), the Dutchess County United Way (1972-1974) and the Dutchess County Family Counseling Service (1973-1978). He received a Distinguished Service award from the NY State Jaycees in 1976. In Yorktown Heights, he was served the Yorktown United Methodist Church in various capacities and sang in the choir. He traveled with Bridges to Community to Nicaragua to build a school for an impoverished village in 1994.

In 2005, Se June and Karen moved to Kingston, MA, where they found fellowship in the congregation of nearby Silver Lake Chapel in Plympton, MA. In 2010, they moved to a home on Buttermilk Bay in Wareham, MA, where they enjoyed kayaking. For many years, Se June was an avid bridge, poker and euchre player and a prolific gardener.

Se June was predeceased by his older sister, Chung Sook Kim. He is survived by his wife, Karen; his daughter, Kessely Corea Hong, and her husband, Theodore (Ted) Sunki Hong; three Hong grandsons, Gabriel Jinsun, Caleb Jinyoung and Joshua Jinwon;

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Korea meal following the service in the great hall at the church