Train derailment victim remembered at Woodside funeral

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Jin-Won Ahn carries a framed photo of his sister in the funeral procession. Photo by Christina Santucci
John Park (l.) from Korean American Community Empowerment Council speaks with Jin-Won Ahn, (c.) Kisook Ahn’s brother, and Kisook’s brother-in law, Eui-Ho Kim. Photo by Christina Santucci
Kisook’s brother-in law, Eui-Ho Kim, (c.) and brother, Jin-Won Ahn, stand beside her coffin. Photo by Christina Santucci
Jin-Won Ahn carries up wine to the alter during the mass. Photo by Christina Santucci
Hundreds of mourners attend the funeral for Kisook Ahn. Photo by Christina Santucci
Mourners pray during the mass at St. Sebastian's Church. Photo by Christina Santucci
John Park (front) leans forward for a prayer. Photo by Christina Santucci
A framed photo of Kisook Ahn was placed by her coffin for the funeral. Photo by Christina Santucci
Kisook Ahn's coffin is brought out of the church at the conclusion of her funeral. Photo by Christina Santucci

Relatives of a Woodside nurse killed in the Bronx Metro-North Railroad train derailment last weekend said the 35-year-old hoped to help her ill nephew through her work in the United States.

Jin-Won Ahn, Kisook Ahn’s brother who traveled from South Korea to New York for his sister’s funeral Saturday morning at St. Sebastian’s Church in Woodside, spoke through a translator after the mass, which was attended by hundreds of people. He said his sister planned to seek out treatments for autism and possibly bring his 8-year-old son, Kyun-Chul Ahn, to the country for medical treatment.

“Ahn Kisook’s dream mission to come here was to learn about autism,” community leader John Park translated for Jin-Won Ahn, who carried a framed photo of his sister in the funeral procession.

Kisook’s brother-in law, Eui-Ho Kim, also attended the service in place of his wife, Kisook Ahn’s sister, who remained in South Korea.

“She can’t stand with this tragedy. She is too shocked,” Park said. “She asked her husband to go there and take care of her sister.”

The family is planning another funeral in South Korea after she is cremated, relatives said.

Outside the church on Roosevelt Avenue, Jin-Won Ahn recalled how his sister adored her young relatives, never forgetting to send presents and emails for birthdays and other special occasions.

“She loved children, especially her nieces and nephews,” Park translated for Jin-Won Ahn.

Kisook Ahn paid for her school expenses with a part-time job, graduated top of her class and worked in the best hospital in her homeland, her brother said.

“She came here to pursue her dream,” Park translated for Jin-Won Ahn. “Even in Korea, she did a lot of jobs for good works.”

Her former instructor, Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges, the head of Lehman College’s nursing department, also spoke of Kisook Ahn’s love of nursing.

“She was passionate about what she did,” Georges said, while standing on the steps of St. Sebastian’s Church in Woodside. “We said she embodied everything we wanted people to have in our profession.”

Woodside resident Kisook Ahn, who worked at Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center in upstate Ossining, had been on Metro-North train that left Poughkeepsie at 4:54 a.m. and derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx about 7:20 a.m. Sunday. Four people, including Kisook Ahn, were killed, and more than 60 others were injured, authorities said.

Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at by phone at 718-260-4589.

Updated 3:33 pm, December 7, 2013
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