Vigil honors student who died Friday

Friends and family told their favorite memories of David Chung.

Sara Schweid

A Korean prayer began the Monday night vigil for a University student.

Simon Chung said a prayer in remembrance of his son, David Chung, who drowned Friday in Hyland Lake in Bloomington.

He was playing soccer with a youth group from Minneapolis’ Korean First Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday school. He drowned trying to retrieve a soccer ball that had fallen into the lake.

About 30 people crowded onto Daryl Pinto’s back porch, holding candles and sharing memories of Chung.

“We thought it was important to do something for him because he was such an inspiration for us,” said Pinto, who lived down the hall from Chung in Centennial Hall during their first year at the University.

Two posters filled with pictures of Chung brought tears and smiles to the attendees’ faces. One relative kissed a picture of Chung. Another tearfully said her goodbyes.

“He was a fun-loving person,” said Lydia Chung, David Chung’s younger sister. “He was a great brother.”

Candles flickered in the wind as friends and family began to share their memories of Chung.

“This is the best way to honor him,” said Mark Boyadjis, one of Chung’s former roommates. “We need to stick together right now.”

Friends shared memories of late-night study sessions, missed midterms, parties, procrastinating, video games and even a trip to the American Girl Museum in Chicago – Chung was the only guy there, but he didn’t mind.

Some friends said they were glad to have gotten a chance to spend time with him since he returned from Iraq in November. As a member of the Wisconsin National Guard, Chung spent 18 months there where he served as a medic.

Initially, his whole family objected to his decision to enlist, said Lydia Chung, but David Chung wanted the experience.

Some of the people who came to remember Chung had known him since high school. Others had known him for as little as a month.

“I’d known David for five weeks and I already knew that he was a great guy,” said Jenny Kramer, a University nursing student.

Trista Kleppin, a friend of Chung’s from high school, shared a sentiment that others echoed throughout the night – “Anyone that met him always fell in love with him.”

Chung recently was admitted to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He was studying public relations, said his mother, Kunae Chung, in an earlier interview with the Daily.

A viewing and memorial service will be at 5:30 p.m. today at Roseville Memorial Chapel in Roseville. Funeral services will be Thursday in Milwaukee.