Tae Hyong Yi, 49, passed away on January 29, in Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA. He was born in South Korea, to Sang Hyon Yi and Pyong Su (Kim) Yi, and immigrated to the U.S. when he was four.
Tae grew up in the D.C. and Arlington areas, where he attended H.B. Woodlawn, graduating in 1987. He majored in psychology at George Mason University, where he met his future wife, Jennifer Ann Hartt Yi. They married in 1995 and were blessed with a daughter, Devon Jayin Yi, in 1997 and a son, Je-Sung Glen Yi, in 2000.
Besides writing the storyline for the 1993 Urban Decay comic, Tae channeled his life-long passion for comic books into the two successful Destiny Comics stores, which he and his business partner Scott Harris sold in 2001 to start a career in computer programming. Tae appreciated both the stories and the artwork of comics, but he most enjoyed interacting with customers and other vendors and introducing kids to his favorite hobby; many of the people he met then remained life-long friends. During the past two years, he had begun attending comic shows as Tae’s Comics and Collectibles with Joe Martinez, and was enjoying reconnecting and meeting with old and new colleagues.
Most of all, Tae delighted in his family, initially watching his infant daughter while running his store and ultimately choosing to be a stay-at-home dad to take care of both children. He served as a Girl Scout Leader, as well as Treasurer for the Fairfax Service Unit. He was thrilled to pass his love of soccer on to his son and spent many years as a coach in youth soccer, where he prioritized developing long-lasting skills and a passion for the game and sportsmanship over the short-term win.
Tae is most remembered as a true friend. He had a rare gift both for listening and for giving advice with compassion and a sense of humor that called people to their best selves. He was the rock for his family and a light for many friends and colleagues in comics, Scouting, and youth and adult soccer. He was deeply loved and is greatly missed by his family and many friends, and possibly even by his much beloved cats Drew and Kismet.
A memorial service for Tae will be held on Saturday, March 9, at Noon, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fairfax (2709 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton, VA 22124). In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations in Tae’s memory to the PKD Foundation (https://pkdcure.org/tribute-donation/, 1001 E 101st Ter, STE 220, Kansas City, MO 64131). (Tae had moyamoya, a disease so rare there is little research dedicated to it; however, polycystic kidney disease is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure and is sometimes associated with moyamoya. Both diseases have impacted the family.).