Hello, everyone. I'm Un Kyong's daughter, and I'm delivering some heartbreaking news.
On September 27th, 2022, Un Kyong Bell lost her battle with cancer. Instead of celebrating her 58th birthday at home, we had to wish her a Happy Birthday from the ICU. Just a few short hours later, she would pass away while lying under warm beams of sunlight that slipped in through the hospital window, surrounded by the loving embrace of her children and husband.
Some of you might know her as "Bell" from Bell's Barbershop in Tillicum, Lakewood. She's been a pillar of the community there for many decades and was known as "the best damn barber this side of the country." by many. She had many loyal customers who had been coming to see her from the beginning. I came with her to work many times during my childhood and got the chance to watch her in her element, a master of her craft. You could tell just by watching her that talking to her customers was one of the greatest joys in her life, and if she was still here, I know she would want everyone to know how thankful she was for everyone's many years of loyalty to her, and she would let you all know how grateful she was for the friendships she made.
Her life has been very difficult, but she always persevered because she was too stubborn to ever give up. She was born in South Korea and had a tough childhood where she raised her six younger siblings. Three decades ago, she would eventually meet my father, fall in love, and immigrate to America to start a life with him. From there, she learned the language quickly and eventually opened her own barbershop. She then built a stellar reputation as a barber and cultivated a loyal customer base. She was the hardest working person I've ever known, and she never took any days off. She worked tirelessly from dawn 'til dusk, every day, all for her family. Even after being diagnosed with breast cancer again, even after Covid-19 struck every country and city in the world, and even after she became severely immunocompromised, she still continued to work, up until a few months ago when she could no longer stand. Even then, she would exercise every day to try to rebuild her strength to stand and work again. Working and supporting her family has always been the motivating force keeping her going, and without that sense of purpose, I don't think she would have been able to endure the pain for as long as she did.
So to all her loyal customers, thank you for giving her strength by continuing to come to see her, even when she began to decline rapidly, and the quality of her work began to suffer.
Please don't feel obligated to donate if you're in a tight situation, but if you're able to and would like to show Un Kyong a final act of kindness, please consider leaving a donation. The donations will be going to her widower, my father, David. He will be using these donations to help pay for her final expenses. David and Un Kyong were married for 31 wonderful years, and these donations will significantly help lift some of the financial burdens off of him during the most difficult period of his life. This last year, he took a substantial amount of time off work to help take care of her, and now he's in dire need of financial assistance. Anything you can afford to donate is greatly appreciated, and we thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
Un Kyong was the type of woman you meet once in a lifetime, and she was a beautiful person, inside and out. My brother and I couldn't have asked for a stronger female role model, and I'm so thankful to call her my mother. Her pain and suffering are over; after a lifetime of hardship and hard work, she deserves to finally be at peace.
We all love you and miss you so much, Momma. You worked yourself to the bone to provide a good life for us, and we'll never take it for granted. We'll carry your memory with us in our hearts for the rest of our lives.