"He knew what it meant for his own kid [to see] barriers broken. So much of what he did focused on this generation," Martha Choe told The Seattle Times. Kim had been a tireless supporter of Choe's 1991 campaign for Seattle City Council.
Kim nicknamed himself "Rocky" proudly, because of the name's association with someone who survives and never gives up. Born and raised in South Korea, Kim went to Los Angeles in 1972 and moved to Washington state nine years later. The Northwest Asian Weekly named him the 1993 "Korean-American Man of the Year" and the Korean American Professionals Society gave him their "pioneer award" in 1996.
Kim helped found the Korean American Grocers Association of Washington in 1988 and served as its president several times. He later set up the Washington Association of Korean American Convenience Stores, both to advocate for Korean merchants' concerns.
Kim was an active, visionary leader. He focused his concerns not only on relations among Koreans and Korean Americans but also on the well being of all communities, according to friends like long-time community leader Kun Hong Park. Kim served on the boards of numerous social service and cultural agencies such as the Asian Counseling and Referral Service and the Korean American Professional Society.