For resident Jaycee Kim, his journey from South Korea to the United States had many stops along the way. Now living at Kingsley Manor, the retired electrical engineer relishes his unofficial role as community ambassador.
“Jaycee loves to attend marketing events and talk to prospective residents about why he enjoys living here,” said Sales and Marketing Director Jeannie Weber. “I think our guests appreciate hearing from an actual resident with such an authentic voice and can see themselves becoming his friend and neighbor.”
Jaycee was born on a small island near Incheon on the west coast of South Korea. He spent his youth living with his parents and eight siblings in Japanese-occupied Seoul during World War II. He served as an officer in the South Korean Airforce in the 1950s but then decided to emigrate to the United States to study engineering and earn a master’s degree. During his 60 years in the United States he has lived in Oregon, Colorado, LA’s San Fernando Valley, the LA neighborhood of Hancock Park and now at Kingsley Manor.
“Kingsley Manor is a very pleasant place to live,” said Jaycee from his one-bedroom, fourth floor apartment overlooking the community’s sprawling “white house lawn.” “I remember when I arrived in April a year and a half ago, all of the roses were in bloom. I couldn’t believe
how beautiful everything was. I like talking to people so I’m happy to attend events and participate in discussions about Kingsley Manor. I just tell visitors my story and I think people who are looking to make the move to a retirement community relate to what I say.”
Jaycee recently participated on a panel with other Korean-American residents to answer questions about the welcoming environment at Kingsley. When he moved to Kingsley Manor, another resident took him under his wing and “showed him the ropes.” “I want to be a person like my friend and make new residents feel welcome,” he said.
Following the death of his spouse, Jaycee was faced with maintaining a house, cooking and cleaning. He decided to make a move to a retirement community but did not know where to start.
Jaycee and his family spent many years as residents of Hancock Park, an architecturally distinctive neighborhood of Los Angeles constructed in the early 20th century, similar to his home at Kingsley. “My oldest son, who lives about 10 minutes from here and my second son who lives 15 minutes away, suggested Kingsley Manor,” he said. “I think they knew it would feel like home to me and they were right.” Jaycee’s sons join their dad for dinner quite often. “They like the food here like me,” Jaycee said with a smile “But sometimes we like to go out to dinner too.”
Jaycee strolls the campus at least three times a day, receiving waves and well wishes from fellow residents. Looking at the roses never gets old.
When not walking, Jaycee’s favorite activity is playing Baduk, an ancient strategic game similar to chess that is played in many parts of Asia and believed to be the oldest board game continuously played to the present day.
“My brother-in-law comes by at least twice a week and we play,” Jaycee said. “I’m always looking for other players to challenge.”