Henry Sangtai Kim, an accountant and business advocate who helped establish the first Koreatown in Maryland, dies

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Henry Sangtai Kim donated his time to secure non-profit exemption status from the IRS for local Korean organizations.

Henry Sangtai Kim, a certified public accountant who was active in the local Asian American community, died of a lung condition May 28 at Howard County General Hospital. He was about to turn 76 and lived in Clarksville.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at Yonsei University and a Master of Science in accounting at Syracuse University.


In 1971, Mr. Kim immigrated to the U.S. He founded his certified public accounting business in Baltimore and Silver Spring eight years later. He had an office at 1023 S. Charles St. in Federal Hill.

He served other members of Asian American communities throughout the mid-Atlantic region.


“My father was the most hardworking man I have ever known,” said his son Thomas W. Kim. “He was passionate in his work. He enjoyed giving speeches and doing social work in the Korean American community. He helped so many people.”

“Henry leaves a long and respected legacy,” said a family friend, Eun Kim, from Ellicott City. “He was a positive person who was calm and kind to anyone who needed help. He was there for others.”

Mr. Kim was the chair of the Koreatown Planning Committee Board Inc. in Ellicott City and helped raise over $700,000 to establish the first Koreatown in Maryland.

When Koreatown opened in October 2021, Mr. Kim introduced Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan at a celebratory ceremony.

After he heard Mr. Kim’s words, Gov. Hogan said, “That was a great introduction. I think I’m going to take Henry Kim everywhere I go.”

Active in Republican Party circles, Mr. Kim was the past chair of the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission under Gov. Hogan and has been vice chair of the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission under the past Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

Mr. Kim was also the past chairman of the Korean Society of Maryland and the chair of the Korean Business Enterprise Association.

Among his many interests, Mr. Kim had been controller of the Times Crescent Publishing Co. in La Plata in the 1970s and a controller and business manager for the National Center for Community Actions Inc. in Washington.


A proponent of economic growth policy in Maryland, Mr. Kim assisted in relocating several Washington, D.C., businesses to Maryland in 2018, said a family obituary.

Mr. Kim was a delegate in Prince George’s County’s China-Korea Trade Mission Trip in 2017 to attract Chinese and Korean companies to Maryland. His family said he negotiated with six companies in China and Korea, including Shandong Taixin Curtain Wall Engineering Co. LTD and real estate firms.

In his capacity as president of S.T. Kim Company LLC, he worked with clients in retail, manufacturing and nonprofit organizations. He provided accounting, tax preparation, audit representation, and business acquisition and management services.

His firm also specialized in commercial property acquisitions and property management in the Baltimore-Washington market.

His family said Mr. Kim donated his time to secure nonprofit exemption status from the IRS for the Korean American Grocery Organization of Maryland, the Korean Businessmen’s League, the Korean School of Baltimore and Korean churches.

Mr. Kim was the executive director of the Sejong Scholarship Foundation of America.


He had been a guest speaker and conducted a workshop titled “How to Grow your Business and Personal Wealth and Still Plan for Taxes.”

He wrote and published a bilingual guide for small businessmen and was co-founder of the Korean Language Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

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In addition, he had a Korean American radio program based in Rockville. He had been a senior adviser for the Advisory Council on Democratic Peaceful Unification in Washington and has received a presidential award from the Korean government for his efforts in reunification of South and North Korea.

Mr. Kim received Distinguished Public Service awards from governors Parris Glendening, Ehrlich, Martin O’Malley and Hogan. He also received the 2021 President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award and the 2022 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“My husband was blind for the last seven years of his life. He didn’t want to use a cane, and he walked by himself in familiar areas. Other places, we walked together, side by side,” said his wife of 43 years, Dr. Youngja L. Kim. “He never compared himself with anyone else. He set a goal, and then he achieved it. He was optimistic. He said, ‘Doing things for other people is like doing things for yourself.’”

Mr. Kim was a member of the Buddhist faith. As a young man, he spent a year in a Buddhist monastery but also attended Christian schools.


“He was open to both faiths,” said his wife.

Survivors include his wife, a retired University of Maryland, Baltimore County teacher of English as a second language; his twin sons, George J. Kim and Thomas W. Kim, both of Clarksville; a brother, Jason Sangwoo Kim of Fairfax, Virginia; and a sister, Dr. Sookhui Peterson of Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Services were held Saturday.