AM Donuts owner George Kim remembered his compassion and love

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Abilene residents mourned the death of Munirak George Kim on social media after the owner of Abilene’s donut shop died on Christmas Day, allegedly of complications from COVID-19.

Memories posted on Kim’s Facebook page and that of his wife, Sokol Kim, were full of emotion and a sense of overwhelming loss for the community. One post featured a photo of a friend who had hugged him and called him “the best of us”.

A Facebook post by Mike V. Choate said Kim was “missing by thousands,” while a post by Gene Moody said Kim transformed the community and “touched so many with his kindness,” his positive attitude ensures that you are “Enjoy (ed) every second that you can spend with him.”

“He lived life to the fullest,” wrote Moody.

Kim had been in a local intensive care unit since shortly before Thanksgiving, Abilene News reported. Among other things, he suffered a collapsed lung.

A GoFundMe founded by friend Adam Wargo on December 16 to help cover the family’s medical expenses said Kim was “sick with COVID and had a really hard time.”

The website, which had raised just over $ 13,400 by noon Monday, confirmed Kim’s death on Christmas Eve.

He leaves behind his wife and two children.

American dreams

George Kim (left), owner of AM Donuts, and Paul Matta (center) meet with singer, songwriter and musician Joe Sonny West (right).  West wrote the songs

Kim was born on March 2, 1973 and came to the United States from Cambodia. His Facebook page lists him as from Phnom Penh, the capital and most populous city in the country.

In a January 2012 Reporter News interview, he said he opened his first AM Donuts & Croissants store in 2001, with a location on Grape Street soon after.

Today there are four AM Donuts locations in Abilene.

Kim said the donut business was a hard work business, his day started around 4 a.m.

“It’s all about the quality of the product and the service,” he said, adding that converting the space on Grape Street, a former boxing gym, into a donut shop is difficult.

The store has been described as “having a lot of personality with a phone booth decorated with Superman comics inside and a lounge with comfortable seating for people who want to relax.”

George Kim

Learn and grow

In a story published in 2005 about the variety of languages ​​spoken in Abilene, Kim, who grew up with Khmer, said that he had his first English class while living in the Philippines.

“All I had was basically some kind of book, just the ABCs,” he recalled.

But he had learned the language very well, he said, and could easily communicate with those in West Texas and elsewhere.

Kim noted that he was still learning new English words almost every day – and still proudly speaking his native language.

Tastes of Asia

Kim ran a restaurant for a while, Taste of Asia, which opened on South First Street in 2004.

In a 2005 article, he said the lack of a local noodle house meant those who longed at the time had to head to Dallas.

“I know this is a grill town, but I think everyone should try new things,” he said.

Although the restaurant was closed, AM Donuts on Grape Street began serving Asian dishes, including Pho, a well-known Vietnamese soup dish.

Heart of the dragon

In many social media posts, Kim has been referred to as being related to a brother, uncle, or friend.

Ryan Ortega wrote that Kim was “a great family friend and still like an uncle to me”.

“You were my inspiration, as wise as The Dragon and tough and quiet like Bruce Lee,” he wrote.

Stephanie Acker Heatherly wrote that Kim had “a personality greater than life, a heart of gold (and) a love for his family unlike any other”.

Carrie Whitley Gammon wrote that Kim was “one of the nicest, most generous, and loving people I have ever met in my life.”

“Everyone who has known him is a better person,” she wrote.

Soul of a hero

Superheroes were a recurring theme with Kim.

A photo shows him posing with a young fan wielding a replica of Thor’s hammer from Marvel Comics and related films.

Tina Driessner Cargile wrote on Facebook that Kim “would always be my superhero” for her.

“By watching you, I learned to love everyone equally, fully (and) without judgment,” she wrote. “You made the world a better – and tastier – place.”

Services planned

A series of church services are planned to honor Kim’s life.

A tour of the Elmwood Funeral Home, 5750 US 277 South, will be held on Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., while a Cambodian prayer ceremony will be held on January 3 at 10:00 a.m. at Station 1, 140 Mulberry St.

Kim’s funeral will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Monday at the Elmwood Funeral Home.

Funds are still being raised to support Kim’s family at www.gofundme.com/f/george-kim-medical-expense-fundraiser.

Brian Bethel covers the city, county and general news for Abilene Reporter News. If you value local news, you can get local journalists with one digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.


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