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Korean War to Norman – the Epic Saga of the Kim Clan

(Be sure to view the podcast related to this story, found in the "related" section at end of article)

The Simon Kim family—Janice, Joshua, Casey, Diane, and Simon

The Simon Kim family—Janice, Joshua, Casey, Diane, and Simon.


For years, I knew him only as the humble, soft spoken, hard working Asian-American fellow who repaired my boots in Norman. Observing the traffic in and out of his Norman Boot & Shoe Repair shop on Main Street, it grew clear that much of the rest of the town and surrounding area were also his customers.

Only recently, at about the same time that I came to the Korean War era (1950-1953) of Vol. 2 of The Oklahomans: The Story of Oklahoma and Its People, which I am currently writing, did I think to inquire where he originally came from. South Korea. His parents were South Korean natives and grew up there. Later, however, they moved to North Korea with their eldest child Peggy for his father’s work. They lived there for many years, until Korean War storm clouds rolled in. What a story did he have to tell, once I pulled it out of him.