Wednesday, September 6, 2017 1:20 pm
Doo-Sok Ryu, 85, passed away Sept. 5, 2017, after a long fought battle with cancer. Funeral services are at noon Saturday, Sept. 9, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah, with Pastor Kwang H. Han officiating. Burial is in St. Benedict Cemetery.Visitation begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, one hour before the service, at Fjelstul Funeral Home. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com.
Doo-Sok Ryu was born in the small rural town of Naju, in present day South Korea Dec. 15, 1932. He lived through the Japanese occupation of Korea, World War 2 and the Korean War. His early occupation was a rice farmer and he brought that love with him to America where he turned many a backyards into his personal garden. He would later move to the capital city of Seoul where he worked as a milkman, a ballroom dance instructor, and sold music cassettes on the streets. He was a true hustler.
It was in 1991, a few years after his eldest daughter moved to the USA, when Doo-Sok would leave his home country to the land of freedom and opportunity. It was at that time that the people of Decorah would be introduced to a man people simply called “Grandpa.” People could see Grandpa at Cho Sun (and later at Koreana) smiling and greeting customers. What he lacked in English communication, he made up for in the warmth that he radiated. He loved music, singing and dancing. His dancing could be seen in the old Cho Sun commercials.
Doo-Sok was a tough old bird who suffered many accidents in his lifetime including almost losing four fingers by a table saw, suffering first-degree burns from a pressure cooker, and nearly being crushed to death by a tree. Doo-Sok loved America. He was grateful to see his family thrive in his adopted country. He also loved the town of Decorah. He loved seeing the customers at Cho Sun and Koreana. He especially loved seeing kids at the restaurant. It really did make him feel a part of the community. He is honored to be laid to rest along with his loving wife in the place he called home the last 26 years.
Doo-Sok Ryu is survived by his two daughters: Nika Lee and Soung Sook of Decorah; his sons Soung Jil Ryu and Jae Shin Ryu of Korea; eight grandchildren: Peter Lee, Paul Lee, Jay Lee and James lee, Joseph Seo, Sin-Young Ryu, Ho-sang Ryu and Min-Woo Ryu.