John Soon Kwon

john kwon

August 26, 1965 ~ March 24, 2019

John Kwon, 53, of Jersey City, NJ died on March 24, 2019. He was born in Carbondale, IL, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hyukdal Kwon. John was raised in Tappan, NY and went on to receive his B.S. from MIT and his M.B.A. from NYU.

John was a principal at BDO leading their Valuation and Business Analytics practice. He previously worked at Deloitte, Duff and Phelps, Standard & Poor’s and PricewaterhouseCoopers. John was well known in the financial industry, spoke at numerous professional events, and also guest-lectured at NYU.

John gave back to the community through Habitat for Humanity NYC, where he served as Treasurer and a member of the Board of Trustees (2001-2009). John was also a board member of (2010-2019).

John is survived by his parents, Robert Hyukdal Kwon and Bohak Lee Kwon; his siblings Nancy and David; his brother-in-law Al DeStefano and his sister-in-law Grace Lee. He was the best uncle to Tessa, Sofia, Olivia and Ava.


Funeral Service: March 27, 2019 10:00 am

Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home
327 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Visitation: March 26, 2019 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Arcola Korean United Methodist Church
52 Paramus Road
Paramus, NJ 07652

Final Resting Place: March 27, 2019 11:30 am

Garden of Memories
Soldier Hill Raod
Washington Twp., NJ 07675

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Memories Timeline


  1. To the Parents, Family and Friends of John Kwon,
    Although most folks on the east coast may not know or remember, John was an electrical engineer for the first few years of his career. He was even so bold as to move to the Midwest, Minneapolis precisely, to take a stab at his engineeringness when he graduated from MIT. We in the Twin Cities didn’t know how lucky we were to be.
    I, along with a very young and energetic group worked at a company called Honeywell. We all belonged to a small group in the defense division of precision weapons called the Engineering Services department. Not a very notable group at its surface, but many in the group went on to bigger things just as John did. We worked hard and were extremely tight. We were responsible for building test equipment and testing development devices as they went through the research and development cycle. John was a part of that team, that family, for 5 years or so although I don’t remember the exact years (late 80s, early 90s).
    The larger family John became a part of was young, with weddings and children happening often. Fun family parties and get-togethers were the norm. John was always there, always happy and always had a tee time either right before or right after every event. All of the kids had another uncle when John was around. Of course they were told that his name was John Kwon, but what they heard was Johnkwon. I don’t know if it was just fun to say or if they liked the sing-song of his full name, but they would never say “Hi John”, but always “Hi Johnkwon”. The very littlest would just point and say johnkwon with a fast cadence.
    John never seemed to miss a birthday for any of the kids. He would always show up, after his golf round, to enjoy the festivities and give a small gift. One Christmas at a group gathering, John put on the Santa suit complete with white beard and gave out gifts to all of the kids. I don’t have any pictures of this event, but I know there were tons of cameras around and hopefully someone can provide some.
    A small number of us single guys had plenty of extra time to fritter away. We took full advantage of it. I golfed with John at least once a week and he had another set of guys that he would go out with other times that same week to help fill his quota. John was the “captain” of our league volleyball team and was one of the better players despite his deficit of height. As I recall, he also played on the league softball team although I did not, so I cannot comment on his beer drinking talents in that regard.
    There were several of us in the Honeywell group with a heritage that resulted in our last names to end in “ski” such as mine (Kurkowski). John was lucky enough to not only be Korean, but Polish when he was with us. I know it makes us all proud. I believe we called him Kwonski more than we called him John. He did not seem to mind and took it in stride just as he did with everything else in his life.

    One winter, with snow piled high on the sides of the driveway, a friend of mine (Brian S., aka Brain) were teaching John to do snow summersaults. That is where you run very fast, dive out over the deep snow and in mid-flight, do a forward tuck so you do a forward flip and land on your back in the deep snow. We showed John how to do it a few times and then it was his turn. He went at it with vigor, just like anything he did, ran hard, dove out over the snow bank, did a forward tuck and dove head first into the snow, burying himself right up to his shoulders with his backend sticking straight up. If you are imagining Winnie-the-Pooh sticking out of the snow, you would have the right picture. Of course, the first thing we did was laugh until we couldn’t breathe, then we helped him out and took pictures of the snow hole. I can’t find those pictures unfortunately, but maybe Brian can.
    We made two trips to the mountains out west skiing. The first was with members of the Honeywell group, probably in the late 80s. There is a picture of us all with John showing the most exuberance. We drove out and back and all stayed in a giant house. We skied and lived together for a week and had a great time. John made all of the things we did more fun and was a part of the family in every way.

    The second trip out west was to Utah. John had gone back to the east coast by that time and was maybe even out of NYU by then. It was like John had not left. He was still part of the family, although the family had changed as I had changed jobs too and had some new members join as well. He was just as warm and congenial as ever. The new friends found him kind and one of those guys that you remember as one of the nicest guys you’ll ever know. We had a great time, right up until the second to the last day. Johnski was skiing with Jill Kurkowski on a warm and sunny day. The snow was groomed well, but heavy. As I understand it, John turned a corner on a steep section and went over the handlebars. I suppose it was because the skis stuck instead of sliding as they would normally. He came down on his shoulder, and instead of rolling or getting a fluffy landing, he just stuck. The snow collapsed under his shoulder and trapped him with his weight above him. When he came up over the top, he had dislocated his shoulder. We had one day of skiing left, enough time to let him relax and enough time for all of us to give him the business. As I understand it, that shoulder dislocation did end up giving him trouble afterwards. I think it affected his volleyball game at the very least.

    In 1998, John came back to attend our wedding (Angie and Jim). He came in a day early and hung out with us at the groom’s dinner. He knew my real family members quite well. I believe they all kept in touch with him better than I did over the years. John was immediately at home with the group and of course the center of attention. We all wanted to chat and catch up. He was again, gracious and generous and cordial. Although he had a full and new life back on the coast, he still took time to come back to his second home and celebrate with us. We will always be grateful for that.

    I only saw John one other time after that. I was in New York on business (I think around the 2009 timeframe). I stayed over an extra day and he graciously invited me to stay at his place in New Jersey, just across the river, west of Manhattan. He took me to dinner at some hip joint in the evening and the next day he spent the entire day with me, showing me the sights of downtown and just hanging out. We ate lunch at a Chinatown authentic, walked for what seemed miles and then got lost in the subway system. Even he couldn’t understand the announcements telling us how to manage the system when one of the lines was shut down. Even all those years later, John was that same great guy. He was always generous with his time and money, always had only good things to say, even when it was clear that he could say otherwise.
    I have a couple of pictures to share. This website would not let me include them with this letter, but I can email them if anyone would like them. I do not think they are all appropriate for the pictures section.
    I know that for those on the east coast that John grew up with and later spent many years with, especially John’s family and parents, this must be an extremely hard time. When news of his passing was heard here in the Twin Cities, the word spread quickly and everyone was so sad to hear how we all lost such a great guy. The world just doesn’t have enough John Kwons in it. All these years after he left the Twin Cities, it is still clear how much of an impact John had on our community. I know I can speak for everyone here in the Midwest that knew John how sorry we are for your loss. Even though none of us here know any of you there, just by knowing John, we know how big the hole must be that he left.
    With all of our Love and Condolences,

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