Finding Good In Goodbye At Sung Cleaners

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Kay Lee (center) says goodbye to her customers at her closing party

Open for 25 years, Sung Cleaners, owned by husband and wife Kay and Richard Lee, finally closed its doors on Dec. 2 to start the next phase of their lives doing missionary work in Guatemala. But, before they closed, Sung Cleaners held a goodbye party at the store for its loyal customers, who Kay says are more like family.

“What I’m doing is the same business a lot of people do,” explained Kay. “But my customers are like family. I used to see parents come in with their kids holding their hand and now they come home from college and they want to see me and bring me clothes. I enjoyed my time with my customers. I will keep in touch with them.”

More than 60 residents gave Kay their emails to see her missionary work over the next few years, but will all still miss having her in Port.

“Kay was such an asset to the community,” said Port resident Wendy Weber. “I remember her sewing up my daughter’s teddy bear and refusing payment for it. And in 20 years, a piece of my dry cleaning was never damaged or lost. She will be sorely missed.”

“Kay and her staff were part of our extended family and we will be very sorry to lose her,” said resident Andy Shaffer. “Port Washington will be very much the poorer for this loss.”
For the past five years, Richard, a mechanical engineer, has formed a relationship with the Antigua, Guatemala, public school district and has been working to help teach the schools’ teachers music, English, mathematics and Bible study, having written three textbooks to do so. Over the next year, Kay will be learning to speak Spanish and then will join her husband in his missionary work through the Korean Church of Queens.

“In my country a long time ago, we didn’t have anything and an American missionary came,” said Kay. “They appeared in the schools and hospitals to train the people and educate the people. The American missionary changed everything and that’s why hopefully in Guatemala we can change them and give them a chance for better education and explain how important the Bible is. It’s more life guidance, [and] gives them a chance for a better future. I’m excited that little by little I can at least try to help them.”

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