I met Mike in 1985 when I married his father. I got to know Mike as the son of his parents. Later after the First and Last Husband's death, I got to know Mike as a friend and peer. It was Mike who introduced me to the Husband. For that I shall forever be thankful. In the last two years or so, except for a couple of phone calls, there hadn't been any contact with Mike. Just call it a difference of opinions. Mike is one of those people who has a way of lingering in your mind and conversation. And, he has been on my mind lately. Mike passed away recently.
Michael Jeffrey Yoon, son of Frank Yoon and Jean Wong Yoon, and brother of James Yoon, was born in the year of the Tiger on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer. June 21, 1950, to be precise, in San Francisco, California. He passed away on December 22, 2017 in Livermore, California.
"My friends call me Mike," he said sometimes, after introducing himself to strangers.
|MIke (lower left hand corner) with his Yoon cousins in the 1960s.|
As a child and young man, Mike and his family lived in San Francisco, Sacramento, El Cerrito, San Francisco, and Berkeley. On his own path, Mike made his bed in San Diego, Cleveland, Benicia, Thousand Oaks, Fremont, and Livermore. For about four decades, Mike shared his life with his wife Debbie Wingerd Yoon. Together they had two sons, Jonathan and Andrew.
Mike graduated from University of Pacific in 1974 with a BS in biology and biochemistry. He was on the ground floor of biotechnology research in San Diego and at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. During the 1980s, he decided to change gears and got into human resources, graduating with an MBA in Human Resources and Labor Law from Case Western Reserve University in 1988. In 2000, Mike obtained an MS in Human Resources and Organization Development.
In the late 1980s, Mike moved back to California to begin an accomplished and successful career in human resources in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries, working both in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. Mike held various management HR positions in such companies as Bio-Rad, Amgen, Bayer, Abbott/TheraSense, and BioIntegra.
Mike's colleagues' recommendations at Mike's Linked-in profile described a highly respected professional. Repeatedly, Mike was cited as being intelligent, insightful, caring, honest, fair-minded, positive, diligent, methodical, and diplomatic. He was approachable, quick-witted, accessible, a team player, and a strong communicator. Many of his colleagues were impressed with Mike's ability to relay complex technical concepts into easy to understand terms. Definitely not an easy thing to do.
Family and friends were important to Mike. As sometimes happens with persons of high intelligence, and ambition, along with being strongly focused on work, he could be clueless to the feelings of those close to him. Most often, you let it go. Mike was friendly to a fault, and innocently charming at times. He was a know-it-all because he wanted to know it all. Nothing wrong with that. And, he had a great sense of humor when he wasn't so serious.
There's no greater testament to a person than the unconditional love of his parents. Frank and his mother Jean would've jumped to the moon and back for Mike.
During his last several years, Mike battled Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), leukemia, and other illnesses with resoluteness in the same fashion he tackled any problem. Mike may have moved into the business world of human resources, but he always had the mind and soul of a scientist.
I like to think that when Mike's body hit the wall with his last breath, his spirit was welcomed into the universe of amazing love and light by Frank and Jean and his brother James.
Soar freely and joyfully, Mike.
I've created an album of Mike on Facebook. Here's the public link.