OBITUARY

Chi Thanh Pham

1 November, 193126 July, 2021
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Chi Thanh Pham, 89, passed away Monday, July 26, 2021 at Novant Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte. He was in the company of his loving family. Born November 1, 1931 in Vietnam, he was a son of the late Pham Thanh Tu, and Truong Thi Y.

Chi and his siblings lost their parents early in life so they were taken in by grandparents and learnt to take care of each other. Chi married his bride Thu Hong Le (Le Hong Thu), a nurse, in 1954. Chi worked hard to become one of the first pharmacists in Can Tho. Through his involvements with local university and charities, Chi provided guidance, friendship, and financial assistance to many, mostly struggling students. He was a respected member of Rotary International in Vietnam.

The joy of Chi’s life was to provide for his family, extended family, and helping others. He made sacrifices to ensure his family are safe, provided for, and for his 7 children to obtain proper education even after having lost his business after the fall of South Vietnam in 1975.

In 1978, Chi and his wife made a difficult decision to that they will give up all that they have, and start looking for means to get their children out of Vietnam for a better future. Despite the uncertainties, they arranged to have 2 of their children to get out first – who ended up in a refugee camp in Malaysia. In early 1979, after a failed attempt to get the rest of the family out, Chi and a couple of closest friends secretly secured their own boat, took months to prepare it, then made the journey themselves. After being pursued and shot at by patrol boats, pounded by stormy sea, robbed by pirates, and drifted several days with smashed instruments and sabotaged supplies, 30 people cramped on a small wrecked boat were rescued and transferred to Pulau Bidong Refugee Camp in Malaysia. With the help of his sister-in-law Xuan Hong Le, her husband Thong Le, and Xuan’s church, Holy Trinity Lutheran, the Pham family finally reunited in Hickory, North Carolina July 26, 1979.

Chi and his wife took up new skills as furniture assemblers at Century Furniture of Hickory. While working, Chi went back to night school to obtain an associate degree in machine programming, and became a Machine Set-up / Operator. He was an exemplar for his 7 children, all of whom worked hard to obtain college degrees.

Chi is survived by his wife, Thu Hong Le; seven children, David Viet Pham (Truc), Hong Viet Pham (Hai), Ha Pham Cheek (Don), Thuy Pham Heldreth, Henry Viet Pham (Dung), Yung Viet Pham (Caroline), Tam Viet Pham (Christine); and nine beloved grandchildren, Will Cheek, Bobby Cheek, Victoria Heldreth, Dylan Pham, Jennifer Pham, Michelle Pham, Sarah Pham, Jonathan Pham, and Ethan Pham; as well as his younger sister, Hue Thi Pham; and his younger brother, Khi Thanh Pham (Lan). He was preceded in death by his oldest brother, Pham Thanh Co.

A funeral service will be held at 3:00 pm on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at McEwen Myers Park, 500 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC. Visitation will be prior from 1:00 - 2:45 pm.

For those wishing to send memorial gifts, please consider donating to Direct Relief charity (https://www.directrelief.org/) or Hospice & Palliative Care, Charlotte Region (www.hpccr.org)

Services

  • Visitation

    Saturday, 31 July , 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, 31 July , 2021

Memories

Chi Thanh Pham

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John Womack

28 July 2021

My deepest sympathy to all of you. Your Daddy was a profile in courage and all of his offspring are as well. Praying for all of you during this season and the seasons ahead.

John Womack

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