Obituary of Margaret Enshil Kahng
Margaret Enshil Kahng was born in Bloomington Indiana in 1960 the eldest daughter of Sun Myong Kahng and Oh Kumyer who met in this country while pursuing their PhDs. As the eldest of our pioneering Asian brood she spent most of her childhood breaking barriers as the one and only brown girl in West Central Minnesota. Peggy was sensitive & kind & fragile. Above all she wanted desperately to please her parents and make them happy and proud.
As one of 7 out of 40,000 Koreans in the U.S. at the time, Peggy was literally the first non white person other children and adults had ever encountered. Daily bullying and physical abuse greeted her from the time she left our house until she fought her way home from the bus stop. She suffered cruelty in ways that are difficult to put into words. Instead of making her bitter, Peggy’s heart simply grew bigger and bigger. She chased the human capacity to love and was a superhero when it came to being completely selfless and loving in a world that simply didn’t deserve her gentle soul.
Peggy was brilliant, strong and disciplined. Pre-computers, Peggy’s brain was a repository of every fact she ever read. She was an incredibly talented musician and held the deepest capacity to love animals (Our lab Spunky and her guinea pig, Einstein). Music and cute animals and stuffies and fantastic narratives were her escape. There isn’t a single person she interacted with on this planet that did not benefit from her keen intellect and generosity. Her enduring empathy for others is a testament to her character. After a bumpy childhood she found peace and happiness with terrific humans in Iowa where she could quietly cook, read, and share the bounty of her masterful garden. She always looked out for the underdog and nothing incensed her more than injustice, greed, avarice and dishonest public servants.
She was the true beauty in our family but never ever saw herself that way.
I find comfort knowing she is safe and at peace in the loving embrace of our Halmoni who was her ultimate protector and the person who loved her best.