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For Jason

This past week, the Ulsan expat community was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of one of our own, Jason Lappies. Jason lived in Ulsan for several years, and was a fixture behind the bar at Cima, serving drinks as Al’s right hand, and keeping us happily in beer and cocktails. He had returned to the States for a while, but was due to return to Ulsan in just a few weeks, when tragedy struck. The details are not clear, but it appears he passed away in his sleep one night, unexpectedly for a young, athletic man.

Jason and Al at Cima (photo from his Facebook page)

Jason and Al at Cima (photo from his Facebook page)

Jason was a lively character, and had a lot of stories to tell. He was always willing to lend a helping hand, doing things like supplying his newly arrived neighbour with a weeks-worth of cooked rice when they hadn’t had a chance to go shopping, or by stepping behind the bar at Cima on busy nights or JJ’s for special events.

I worked with Jason for a short time in a kindergarten. He was the first to realize one of our youngest new students had special needs, and he helped the Korean staff, who are largely unfamiliar with dealing with students with cognitive challenges, to understand how to handle this boy who acted out in strange ways in his classes. Thanks to Jason, this little boy received special attention, rather than just being labeled a “bad kid” the way it so often happens here, and integrated into his class quite successfully.

He will be missed by many here, and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends in San Diego and around the world.

If you would like to help out his family with the funeral costs, please visit this page.

Rest in peace, Jason.