Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Donald McConville
McCONVILLE: On a personal note, it was in Korea on that tour that I got married in 1985. After all these years as a bachelor, I met and married my wife. She was a Korean woman whom I'd met through mutual friends.
Q: What was her family background?
McCONVILLE: Her father had been a career army officer in the Korean military going back to the Korean War and before. He'd actually been in an academy in Japan. He was in the same class, I think, as Park Chung-hee. But he had by this time retired as a bird colonel in the Korean army and had worked for a while in some kind of defense organization, defense industry organization. She was the oldest of six children, and all her brothers and sisters - she had two brothers and three sisters - were all in professional roles.
Q: Was she able to go to one of the universities?
McCONVILLE: I can't remember the name of it. She actually had gone to college right about the time that her father had retired from the army, and this had been sort of a difficult period for them financially, so she did go to a university but not one of the top schools. Of course, her brothers went to Seoul University. She had worked for Koker, I think. She had majored in English and foreign languages and had worked for Koker and then she'd become an international stewardess for KAL (Korean Airlines) - that was a very, very prized job at that time - until her first marriage, which was a Korean medical doctor. That had gone bad and they had gotten divorced - it had been a very bitter sort of thing - and she had a small child. He was at that time five years old, a young boy. The father had totally disappeared from the scene. I met her through some mutual friends and, much to my surprise at this particular time in my life, we ended up getting married, and I acquired not only a wife but a stepson. We got married actually on the lawn of Ambassador Walker's residence. In Korea no one officiates at a marriage. Getting married in Korea means you turn in some papers to change the status of the records. They get married in churches and in Buddhist ceremonies and so forth, but a priest or a preacher or a Buddhist monk is not empowered to marry them. He just oversees the ceremony. We got married on the lawn of the ambassador's residence, and we had Ambassador Dixie Walker as our featured speaker. They also always had in Korea some prominent person who would give a speech of some sort. So in effect we just married ourselves, exchanged our vows. We had already turned in our papers to be legally married. There was a very nice group of people there. It was a wonderful wedding ceremony. Ambassador Walker in effect officiated at the marriage.