Long-standing Korea expat, Thomas Pinansky, passes away.


Sadly, AustCham Korea was recently informed of the passing of a dear friend and member, Thomas Pinansky.

A Senior Foreign Attorney (Partner) at Barun Law LLC, Thomas was a well-respected lawyer and member of the expat community for over 30 years. AustCham Korea would like to pass on our deepest condolences to Thomas’ family, friends and colleagues.

Thomas Pinansky, a pillar of the international legal community in Seoul, passed away on April 8, 2020 in a Portland, Maine hospice at the age of 61 after a battle with cancer. Pinansky, who was a Senior Foreign Attorney for Barun Law LLC since 2005, will be buried in a small cemetery next to his late wife in his hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. A long-standing expat, he lived and worked in Korea for over 30 years.

His death has shocked and saddened many in the international community in Seoul as he was quite active in the local business community and international chambers of commerce. He held several high-profile public service roles including being a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea since 1988, most years of which he served on the board of governors or held other top leadership positions. He was chair from 2001-2003 of the American Chambers of Commerce in Asia, a group of 31 American chambers in the region. He also served as a member of the board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce since 2005 and as Special Advisor for the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea since 2009.

Pinansky was an attorney, husband and father, as well as a colleague and friend to many, prompting many thoughts and responses reflecting on the impact he had on others and the local community.

“I’m reminded of a Ralph Waldo Emerson saying that, ‘The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you lived and lived well.’ Tom was all of those things. He lived so very well. Rest in peace, my friend. You will be hugely missed,” said Tim Trinka, senior attorney of Dentons Lee.

“Tom and I joined AMCHAM Korea about the same time in the fall of 1988 and we worked closely to improve the business environment. He became a business confidant, golf partner and a dear friend. He will be deeply missed,” said Tami Overby, former AMCHAM Korea president.

“Tom was an all-around great guy who had boundless energy and brought enthusiasm to everything he did whether taking care of his family, serving his clients, volunteering, entertaining friends, playing tennis, or even simply weeding the garden. It was always a pleasure to spend time with Tom who always remained positive and optimistic in any situation, he will be missed by many but remembered well,” said Eric Hoffman, CEO of Asia Risk & Insurance Advisors (ARIA).

“Tom was deeply committed to promoting business between US and Korea. Very professional with providing advice,” said Peter Underwood, managing partner of IRC.

“Tom was an accomplished attorney, business leader and friend to many in our community.? He personified the phrase ‘good leaders must first become good servants.’? His service to and for our community will be long remembered.? RIP brother,” said John Schuldt, former AMCHAM Korea president?

“Tom was a good friend and mentor and will be dearly missed. He’s leaving a strong memory and legacy in the community here in Seoul, Korea,” said Brad Buckwalter, former CEO in Korea, Otis, ADT, Tyco and Johnson Controls.

Thomas Pinansky received his bachelor’s from Harvard University in 1981 and earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985. He was admitted to the bar in Texas and the District of Columbia. He is survived by his wife Eunjung Kim, his son Barton and his brothers David and Victor Pinansky. His first wife, Roxanne Holland, predeceased him in December 2015.

Jeffrey D. Bohn is managing partner of EDGE Communications. Click here to read the full article on the Korea Times.