Syngman Rhee, Presbyterian and ecumenical leader, dies at 83

Syngman Rhee, 83, a former North Korean refugee and leader for more than five decades in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and in ecumenical circles, died January 14 in Atlanta shortly after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.

Rhee was born in 1931 in Pyong­yang, now part of North Korea, to a Presbyterian family.

“My father was a pastor who was martyred in prison in the fall of 1950,” Rhee said in an interview with Faith and Lead­ership at Duke Di­vin­ity School in 2013. “After that, my mother insisted that her two sons—me, at 19, and my 17-year-old brother—go to South Korea as refugees, because she feared the same thing would happen to us.”