Lee, Hae-ryun Ahn

Lee, Hae-ryun Ahn: She was a life-time supporter for her whole life of husband, Dosan Ahn Chang Ho’s Korean independence movement.


Lee, Hae-ryun was a living role model of a Korean mother for children’s education and a towering leader of Korean women and a Korean independence movement activist solely for Korea. She loved Korean people even at the high expense of her own family while she was unwaveringly supporting her husband, Dosan Ahn Chang Ho for his lofty cause of sovereignty and independence of Korea. She entered Jung Shin Girls School in Korea to learn modern sciences. In September 3, 1902, she married Dosan Ahn Chang Ho when she was 17 and Dosan was 23. The Goo-jae School headmaster Mr. Miller officiated their wedding at Jae Joong Won (now Severance Hospital with Yonsei University). On October 14 of the same year, Ahn Chang Ho and the newly wed Lee, Hae-ryun arrived in San Francisco. Dosan came to America to study education. Upon arrival, she helped Dosan to organize Gong Lip Hyup Hoe to lead and coordinate the Korean society. She was active in supporting her husband’s Korean National Association for collecting and forwarding independence funds. Organizing Korean Wives Group where she wanted to share the hardship that people in Korea were suffering by observing “No meat” on Tuesday and Friday or “No soy sauce day” on Wednesday, etc. Later, she coordinated and organized Korean Women’s Patriotic League from Dinuba, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and Willow areas. The League was officially organized on August 5, 1919.  Dosan was arrested immediately after patriot Yun, Bong-gil threw a bomb to Japanese dignitaries attending a ceremony in Hongkou Park in Shanghai. At that time, Dosan was imprisoned in Korea where he sent his letters of affectionate heart to her. When the Korean National Association building was officially constructed in 1937 on Jefferson Street in Los Angeles, she rallied around for financial support for the building. When Dosan left for China after the March First Independence Movement, she was  working  fiercely to collect and send the funds to support the movement. She continuously lived in Los Angeles  for  the  next 76 years. She lived in Riverside, California assisting her husband and laborers there. She was devout in her faith at church. Subsequent to Dosan’s passing on March 10, 1938, she did all she could to raise five children by sewing. Even in his passing, she never missed an event in women’s independence movement. She was elected as a President of Korean Women’s Patriotic League including charges to take care of Korean residents in Cuba. She became a Hung Sa Dahn member. Her membership number was 317. Even after Korean liberation, she dedicated herself to Korea and its people before her demise. She had five children: Philip, Philson, Susan, Surah and Ralph. She also had two younger brothers Doo-sung and Guek-sung, and one younger sister Shin-sil. She was closer to her uncle Lee, Am and cousin Lee, Ok-sung. She passed away on April 21, 1969 at the age of 86 on her birthday in Los Angeles. On November 10, 1973, the South Korean government repatriated her remains to Dosan Park in Seoul to be buried near Dosan. In 2008, the South Korean government posthumously recognized her with the Order of Merit of National Foundation / Patriotic People  Award  for  her  distinguished service and unwavering dedication for the Korean independence movement.

▲ Lee, Hae-ryun and her five children (From left on front row: Surah, Lee, Hae-ryon, Susan) (From left on back row: Ralph, Philip and Philson)

▲ Sewing machine used by Lee, Hae-ryun, wife of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, and the money she earned from sewing work was all given to Korean independence. The machine was donated to Dosan Memorial Foundation in Seoul in 2014.

▲ Graveyard for Dosan Ahn Chang Ho and Lee, Hae-ryun at Dosan Park at Gang Nam in Seoul, South Korea.

◀ Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, husband of Lee, Hae-ryun