Hai Thai Nguyen

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In August 2011, Hai Thai Nguyen had a stroke while on vacation in Kansas. Determined not to let it affect his life, he fought back fiercely and achieved a recovery which surprised all his physicians. He continued to live his life to the fullest until March 22, 2013 when he was admitted to Rex hospital after suffering multiple strokes and peacefully passed away on March 30, 2013 at the age of 83. Born in Vietnam, Hai grew up separated from his parents but had a successful life as a Civil Engineer.

He married Em in 1955 and raised a family of eight children before beginning the arduous journey of escaping Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. The entire family finally reunited in Minnesota in 1983. Hai worked for over 15 years as a civil engineer in VietNam developing airports and another 20 years in Minnesota designing highways. He was an active member of the Vietnamese Buddhist Association in Minnesota, helping design and build a new praying hall with traditional architectural details. In 2003, he and Em relocated to North Carolina to seek warmth and be near half of their large, expanding family. His hobbies included gardening, writing, traveling and watching his grandchildren having fun. He also dedicated much time and effort to researching his genealogy, tracing his ancestors back many generations. He has written two books about his father’s contribution to their hometown. He devoted his life to his family, including eight children and 17 grandchildren.

The family will receive friends Wednesday, April 3, 2013 from 3:00 to 6:30PM at Brown Wynne Funeral Home, 300 St. Mary’s Street, Raleigh, NC 27605.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests donations be made to the North Carolina Buddhist Association, 4229 Forestville Rd., Raleigh, NC 27616-9620. Please be sure to make a note that the donations are in memory of Hai Thai Nguyen


  • Visitation Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hai Thai Nguyen

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tri & Hoa Le

May 5, 2013

Xin thanh kinh pha^n u*u cung toan the gia dinh. Cau xin linh cuu cua Ba'c cho'ng ve^`co~i cu*.c la.c.

Tri', Hoa, va Megan Le^

Trung Nguyen

May 4, 2013

This story begins back when I was a senior in high school, I was about to graduate, and I was indecisive as to what I wanted to study. I had so many options to choose from; mathematics, statistics, chemistry, computer engineering, dance. I didn't know what to do. They all sounded so cool. I loved thinking abstractly and trying to solve mathematical problems. But, I was also very good at statistics and probability. Not to mention the fact that I was the top in my chemistry class. I had also recently gotten into programming, and it piqued my curiosity.

After much thought, I eventually decided to major in statistics at UF. I had always found statistics interesting. From calculating probability, to doing tests on correlation; statistics seemed to have many applications in life from politics, to economics, and many other facets of society. However, my parents had something different in mind for me. They wanted me to do science or engineering. They didn't want me to study statistics, and after much argument, I reluctantly changed the major on my college application to computer engineering (and in retrospect, I'm glad they convinced me to switch. I thoroughly enjoy computer engineering).

Anyway, fast forward a year or so later to August 2011. Ong Ngoai just had his first stroke, and he was in the hospital. He was delirious. He was talking in his sleep, mumbling random things, trying to get out of bed while sick. Occasionally, various family members would stay by him and watch him to make sure he didn't do anything crazy.

One night Viet was staying with him, and Ong Ngoai was having a flashback dream to a conversation he had with my Mom. She had told him about how I wanted to study statistics and how she had convinced me to do a different program. He mumbled a response in his sleep that I should be able to study statistics if I wanted. Statistics is used world wide, and not many people can understand and be good at statistics. If I studied statistics, I could do great things and help a lot of people.

Now, you may wonder why this is such a significant memory for me. Well, pretty much my whole life, I've always felt like a dunce in the family; particularly because I am terrible with Vietnamese. I have always had a hard time communicating with Ong Ba Ngoai. I'm lucky if I can understand a quarter of what they say. When they talk, I usually just sit there and look stupid. This has always made me feel like a black sheep in the family (not to mention the fact that everyone thinks I'm a complete weirdo).

This conversation made me really feel more connected to the family. Even though I could barely understand him, and he could barely understand me, he still fully supported and believed in me. I never ended up switching back to statistics, and I was never there when he said any of this, but it is my memory of him that I cherish the most.

Tuyet-Anh Tran

April 11, 2013

Xin chia buon cung Tien va tang quyen. Cau nguyen bac trai som ve coi Phat.

April 10, 2013

Hi anh Tien, anh Tai,

Gia dinh em xin that that chia buon voi gia dinh anh chi.

em Huy + em Tran + be' Bo`n Bon

April 10, 2013

Anh chi Tien-Huong,
Thanh kinh phan uu, va thanh that chia buon cung anh chi va gia dinh.
Nam & Chuong Dai

April 10, 2013

Hi anh Tien and anh Tai,

It is a very touching tribute to Bac Hai! Please accept our condolences to you and your family!

Giao, LanChi, and Brandon

April 10, 2013

Anh Tien,

Em thanh ki'nh chia buon cung anh va gia dinh, cau nguyen vong linh bac an nghi noi chin suoi. Doc bai tho va ba`i viet ve bac, that hay va cam dong lam. Doi nguoi vo^ thuong, mong anh va gia dinh dung buon nhieu, va hay bao trong suc khoe.

Em Nhon

April 10, 2013

Chao anh Tien chi Huong,

Gia dinh em xin thanh that chia buon voi gia dinh anh chi va dai gia dinh bac Hai. That la mot su mat mat lon cho gia dinh.
Em xin cau chuc huong hon cua bac som duoc ve noi mien cuc lac.

Neu em co the giup duoc gi thi xin anh chi cho biet.

Gia dinh em Lam

April 10, 2013

Tien-Huong, Tai-Hoa Ly:

Our deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family for the big loss.
I have faithfully conveyed to friends what Huong just talked to me.
As usual, I will co-ordinate our caring friends for the condolences.

Keep me informed on the funeral, as well as where we will direct our friend's "Phung Dieu" to.
Please let me know if anything I (and our friends) can help during this difficult time of your family.

Xin Thành Kính Phân Uu cùng gia dình và
C?u Chúc Huong H?n Bác Trai S?m Tiêu Diêu Noi MÌnh C?c L?c,

Khi?t & Thùy Duong.

Vivian Nguyen

April 10, 2013

Dear chu Tien and chu Tai,
I send my most heartfelt sympathies to you and your family during this difficult loss. You both have helped my family and I greatly and our thoughts are with you.


Nguyen Thai Hai - Phap Danh: Minh Ngo - 1931-2013


Hai and Em's wedding picture


Hai in younger days


Hai's college classmates


Hai's college classmates and professors


Cadet Nguyen


Vietnamese Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie