Remembering Dr. David Kim

David KimWe are heartbroken to share that Dr. David Kim, a man of God who devoted his entire life to passionately caring for orphaned children, passed away today at age 86. Please keep praying and sharing your memories of him. You are bringing comfort to his family and to everyone who loved him. David Kim gave thousands and thousands of children a second chance at life, and he inspired everyone around him to do more, care more and work harder to protect the most vulnerable children in the world. His brightness, compassion and commitment will never be forgotten.

A celebration of David’s life will take place at the Faith Center in Eugene, Oregon, on February 24, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested to please make donations to Holt International. Your gift will be used to help children with urgent needs that might otherwise go unmet, especially children with special needs as that was a cause close to David’s heart. If you would like to share memories or photos of David Kim, please email them to

To read David’s full obituary, please click here. 

36 Comments on “Remembering Dr. David Kim

  1. In 1994 I was on the 2-week Family Tour of Korea led by Nancy and David Kim. The evening before our second-last day David and Nancy had a meeting with participants to get our feedback. We told them shopping and sightseeing were wonderful, but we were there because of our children. We explained that for some of us this would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Many of us had been asking since before the trip about meeting foster families, seeing orphanages, etc. and we still had received no answers with only two days left. I only happened to meet our daughter’s foster mother at Il-San because she was honored for her service that day. At the meeting one young woman burst into tears. Her parents, who mortgaged their house to take the trip with her, explained that she left her orphanage in Suwon at age 7 and was so sad that we were in Suwon for a whole day yet no one thought to take her there. The next day we were told that the Holt Korea staff worked all day furiously to arrange trips and meetings for every one of us as well as a foster mother gathering—all of these were to take place on our last day. I was put on a bus for Daejon to see our son’s Christian’s orphanage. That evening at our last dinner we were able to share our stories of our visits. Perhaps this was the starting point for future foster mother gatherings and orphanage, foster family, etc. visits. I will always remember David and Nancy’s kindness, concern, and understanding.

  2. Thank you for allowing God lead your life. Through it many children and families have come to know and learn of His faithfulness.
    Our prayers are with the family and friends.

  3. blessings and prayers of comfort to the bereaved family and the family of God!

  4. What an inspiration. What a life. What a legacy. What an impact on so many lives. I am in awe. The celebration party welcoming David Kim into heaven today must be among the largest ever gathered. Thank you for all you did for all of the children and families sir, and specifically for our family, helping us bring our daughter, Cassidy Hye Jin Layman home. Welcome Home.

  5. Thank you so much Mr. Kim for dedicating your life to orphans like myself. I am forever grateful to you and the work you have done. I am honored to have come from Holt.

  6. Dr. Kim will be truly missed. He was a great man. I will always cherish the time I spent with him on my motherland tour with him in 1987 and celebrating his 80th birthday in Oregon. My heart goes out to his family. Holt International has lost a beautiful man. He will be missed by many.

    Adopted 1963
    Fair Oaks, California

  7. Heartbroken over the passing of Dr . Kim! Had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Dr. Kim over the past years at various Holt functions! I’m sure I speak for thousands of adoptees, along w/myself of how appreciative we are of the great deeds he has done during his lifetime for all of us! Dr. Kim will be missed forever! Prayers to him and his family!
    Thank you Dr. Kim! You will be greatly missed! ?

  8. Thank you Dr. Kim, you have blessed so many lives and many more to bless because your life you gave to help others…what a wonderful man of God…my prayers to the family and friends left behind, may God be with you and give you strength and peace

  9. Thank you, Dr. Kim (and your family) for all you have done for families like mine around the world. Your time and dedication to others is truly a gift.

  10. I first met David Kim when my husband and I went on a motherland tour in 1987.
    It was my first time to Korea and thanks to David the first time I felt proud to be Korean.
    He is an amazing man, I have never met anyone with so much love and dedication.
    Peace to you and your family.

  11. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family at this time I’m very thankful for his dedication to this ministry for the orphans God bless

  12. What an incredible story, an incredible man! His life is what love and serving God is all about. Thank you Dr. Kim, for all you have done for so many children. My wife and I have two wonderful sons, now in their 40’s, from Holt.

  13. Our son was adopted from Holt in 1988. We were honored to meet Dr Kim while on a homeland tour in 2oo8. Thank you Kim for helping bring so many children home.

  14. The wonderful life of Dr. Kim has blessed thousands of children and families!
    I for one would not be a mother without him and Holt! Blessed is too small a word express the way my changed for the better. Thank you also to his family for sharing him with world! Prayers of comfort his loved ones!

  15. We met David Kim on a Motherland Trip with our daughter in 1995. We were fortunate to talk with him individually at a luncheon.

    I’m a retired journalist and college professor. I’ve interviewed senators and governors, met leading national journalists and worked with university presidents.

    But the only time in my life I have ever felt in the presence of greatness was with David Kim. He was humble, compassionate, committed, articulate and honorable.

    He and Holt helped our daughter and us become a family, and for that, we can never think them enough.

  16. Our condolences to your family. As one of the families whose lives were forever blessed due to the adoption of our beautiful daughter-we thank you.

  17. Dr. Kim. A life well lived. An inspiration for us all to remember the least of us…the children who inherit the Earth and are in God’s favor.

  18. Thank you Dr. Kim you were a blessing for many children and families you have done so much. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  19. Jane Owen
    January 25

    Like Grandma Holt, David Kim was one of the most humble people I’ve known. He truly knew the meaning of being a “servant leader” as Christ was, and led often by example.
    His work lives on in the lives of the thousands of adoptees that he has served over the years. I pray for comfort for his family, but know that David has truly gone to his reward!

  20. We have a beautiful daughter and beautiful grandchildren. We have awesome memories of trips and work together. We are very grateful for David Kim and Nancy and the impact that Holt has made throughout the world. May God continue to bless this work as we give thanks for David and his many contributions.

  21. I will be eternally thankful for David Kim and his dedication to the Holt organization and to all the children that they helped. David was one of the staff in 1958 that cared for me during my stay at Holt’s before I was sent to my family in the states. If it wasn’t for him and others like him in the Holt family, I would not of had the opportunities I’ve had in my lifetime and I question whether I would of had a life at all. Thank you David Kim for your faithful work for us!

  22. I was one of the fortunate babies adopted from Holt International and arrived into the loving arms of my wonderful parents July 11, 1960. I’m very thankful to Harry and Bertha Holt for giving me a new life.
    Dr. David Kim saw me when I arrived to Portland, OR and my mom told me he told her he remembered how sick I was.
    In June, 1981, my brother and I had the privilege of going on the Motherland tour to Seoul, So. Korea and other areas of Korea with Dr. David & Nancy Kim.
    He, as well as Nancy, had the love for Korea, and Korean babies as well as for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in their hearts, and he shared that love with many people whos lives they touched.
    Today, he was received into the Kingdom of God and is with Him tonight in heaven. He shared God’s love during his life time on earth and blessed so many people, and for that, he’ll be long remembered and missed by many. Thank you for sharing your love with the people you’ve touched and helped during your lifetime and the joy you brought to many families.
    Rest in peace Dr. Kim. And to his loving wife of many years, Nancy, may God be with you and wrap His arms around you and give you strength as you continue your journey God has for you.
    My love and prayers are with the Kim family and Dr. David Kim will live in our hearts forever.
    Dr. Kim, you’re job is done on earth but God has many plans for you in heaven. Well done good and faithful servant.

  23. Thank you Dr. Kim for your selfless devotion to the many children of Holt. I was fortunate to be adopted in 1968 into a loving Christian family. I have since returned to Korea twice and have enjoyed learning the culture and meeting so many beautiful people.

    My condolences to your family. May you forever rest in peace.
    Cho Yung Mi

  24. Thank you for your kind efforts and for adding children to our lives through adoption!

  25. Angels come in all forms and you sir were definitely an angel before you entered heaven. Thank you for your vision, your faith, and your commitment.

  26. We really appreciate the wonderful work Dr. David Kim had done for orphan children. May the Lord Jesus Christ gives you peace to your soul and we also believe that HE gives you great reward in heaven.

  27. The words that fill my heart are “thank you”. You (as our social worker) and Holt brought us our two adored sons, to join our beloved biological daughter, in 1973 and 1981. Our lives were beautifully and wonderfully changed! Rest in peace, Dr Kim.

  28. My memory of Dr. Kim is from the Eugene Holt Picnic around 16 years ago. Our oldest son was 3 or 4 at the time and a very busy child. During the part of the picnic that the Holt President was addressing the group, our son ducked underneath people and was beginning to cause a distraction near the front of the group. My husband & I tried to reach him without causing another distraction by our actions. Before we could reach him, however, Dr. Kim so gently pulled him up onto the tree stump he was sitting on and our son just snuggled in next to him. I carry that picture of Dr. Kim in my mind every time I think of him.

  29. I first met David Kim 30 years ago helping the staff of Holt plan for their retirements. I was immediately touched by his genuine soul of serving children in need. I was fortunate to work with this incredible servant of God for several decades watching the fruits of his labor come back to him many times over with the beautiful faces of the children he helped find a loving home. He will always have a place in my heart with the following quote “A person never stands so tall as when they kneel down to help a child”. Nancy, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family in this difficult time. But rest assured, he was welcomed in heaven with open arms from the God he served his entire career. What a beautiful reunion with Harry and Bertha taking place today…

  30. Thank you, Dr. David Kim, for your invaluable work and the opportunity for me to become a mother.

  31. I met David in the summer of 1979 when he and Jack Adams hired me to be the new Oregon social worker. He took a chance on me, a young lady just graduated from the Cal State Sacramento MSW graduate program who had zero experience in adoptions. I remember when they were getting ready to offer me the job, they said “we’re engaged but not married yet “which made me laugh but I knew I had the job! David, as a fellow social worker, and my supervisor, was my mentor for the five years I was at Holt, from 1979 to 1985. I remember he was very frugal in 1979 and wanted all of us to not waste any paper whatsoever. Holt was coming out of a difficult time and he was trying to save every penny he could. I also remember he was very unhappy with me one time when I went to Korea by myself and did not realize I was supposed to go out to Il San, Holt’s facility for disabled children. It is where Molly Holt lived and worked and Harry and Bertha Holt are buried there. I never made that mistake again! I also remember fondly the staff potlucks that we had at Nancy and David’s house from time to time. Most of all I remember him as a humble, godly leader who God used in such a mighty way. David Kim answered the call and he answered for those children. Blessings and strength to the Kim family.

  32. We are all indebted to David Kim for helping us become whole families. He was Harry’s helper in getting Holt International Children’s Service started and he kept on his mission to help children find forever homes throughout his life. I dare say that his life impacted millions. I am thankful to be one of those millions.

  33. I am sure that the gates of heaven opened wide today to welcome such an outstanding selfless man. The world would be such a better place if we all did 1/1000th of the good he’s done in this world. May peace be with all those who loved him.

  34. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Kim on a Motherland Tour in 1991. I remember well how kind he was and what a sweet spirit he showed me. I will forever be grateful to him. How blessed I am that I will see him again one day in Heaven.

  35. My Father and Mother remember David and Nancy Kim as caring and friendly neighbors. I pray for Nancy and family during this sad time. Sue Silvis LaRue/Bob and Bobbie Silvis

  36. During the ’80s I worked in refugee camps in Southeast Asia. On a home leave trip around 1985, I was escorting a large group of refugees from camps in Thailand, including a number of young Amerasians (children of Vietnamese mothers & US servicemen fathers). Sadly, these mixed-race youngsters had always been discriminated against & considered almost freaks, “the face of the enemy,” in their home country.
    We changed planes in Tokyo. As I counted heads & got everyone lined up to board our flight to America, a gentleman came over and asked me, “Who ARE all these BEAUTIFUL children?” I liked him right away! “Here’s someone who appreciates how handsome these mixed-race youngsters really are,” I thought. It was David Kim. And yes, he certainly did appreciate children.
    I first learned about Holt when David gave me his business card. I couldn’t have known it then, but eventually I’d work for Holt for over 20 years as transit coordinator in SFO, helping more than 5000 little adoptees enter the USA & travel onward to their new families. I treasure the memory of that fine, loving, Christian gentleman, my original & providential Holt contact, who knew that ALL children are precious & beautiful. May he rest in peace, for “his good works follow him.”

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