February 1, 1986 – February 6, 2019
Peter Pham was born on Feb 1st, 1986 in Bien Hoa, Vietnam. His parents are Lo Pham and Lien Nguyen. He is the youngest of 4 children. Peter immigrated to the United States with his family in 1992. Shortly after, he joined the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (TNTT) through church, which became an important part of his life. He eventually trained to become a youth leader or Huynh Truong in the organization; and it was there that he met his wife, Jenny Bui. Through his humor and kindness, they became friends over the next three years and began dating for another six years. Peter and Jenny married on August 8, 2009 and have built a wonderful family together. They have been blessed with four beautiful children, Elijah (6), Joshua (4), Tobi (2), and Ellie (1).
Peter graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s degree in education. He was a beloved math teacher at Mercer Middle School and Newport High School. He cared deeply for his students and worked tirelessly to help them succeed. He was patient, kind, funny, and had a way of connecting with his students. He always pushed his students to do better and be better. He was truly Mr. Phamtastic.
Peter had many interests including computers, cooking, chess, and foosball. He was also a talented basketball player. He enjoyed going to different restaurants and trying new cuisines and drinks. He was a great thinker – logical and reasonable.
Peter’s battle with liver cancer started September 17th and he bravely faced each surgery, hospital stay, urgent care visit, and the constant pain. He never gave up hope and trusted everything in God’s hands.
Peter’s wish is for everyone to remember him as a dedicated and loving husband and father. He loved Jenny whole-heartedly and never ceased to show his love for her. He would always make his family laugh with his sense of humor and always knew the right things to say. He enjoyed playing games with his kids and teaching them to love one another.
His parting words to his wife: “There’s nothing in this world you can’t do, no feat too big for you to handle. Believe in you like I have these past 9/10 years. I know God believes in you too and that’s why He has given you this next challenge in life. Stay strong like you always have been; everything is in His plan. You’ll get through all this. Believe in yourself. Believe in me. Believe in God. I love you.”
- Viewing Thursday, February 14, 2019
- Mass Saturday, February 16, 2019
- Committal Service Wednesday, February 20, 2019
February 12, 2019
Mr. Pham was my favorite teacher in middle school.
He was always there for his students. He went above and beyond everyday, always gave me food or water and made me feel safe and I looked forward to his classes. His sense of humor always made my day and I'm so thankful for all he's done for me. I'll always remember Pi Days, the days where I went in for extra help and he made sure I understood every topic, the little chats we had about my family because he always checked in. The funny stories he told about his life, his little motivational speeches he made to me every now and then, and the amount of effort he put in to near perfect attendance because he knew we needed him, and he was just that good of a person so he tried to be there.
He was a teacher who genuinely cared for his job, his students, and our futures. He was a motivator. I speak for my whole family when I say thank you Mr. Pham, for everything. Rest In Peace.
February 11, 2019
Mr. Pham taught our son Amir for 7th and 8th grade math. What we really appreciated about him was that he pushed Amir to achieve beyond what Amir thought he could do. Amir has a true love for math and problem solving even now (as an 11th grader) because of the joy Mr. Pham brought to his teaching. Mr. Pham also held Amir accountable when he got off track in class. He will be missed dearly.
San Diego, CA
February 11, 2019
Mr. Pham was the teacher that eased the difficulties of middle school for so many kids. He was more than a fantastic math teacher- and he was absolutely fantastic, and changed not just my feelings on learning but so many of my classmates as well- but he was a friend and a trusted haven for a lot of kids who needed a smile and a cup of coffee. My heart to his family and loved ones, he will be missed dearly and remembered with love.
February 10, 2019
Peter was a former student at Mercer Middle School. Then, we were fortunate to have him return and teach math for a few years. It was a kick having a former student return to teach at his middle school.
Peter was always so kind, fun loving, and had amazing ideas and techniques to connect with his students. Peter's classroom was out on the east side of our school in the 400 portables. It was a post WWII style portable with an oil furnace on the inside and a small porch on the outside. One of the things Peter would do for fun is barbecue on the front porch or have some lemonade when the weather was warmer. He was great at bringing people together. When he and his family bought their first home, Peter and I would talk about ideas he as thinking of doing with his yard. Peter was a proud husband and father. He was an amazing teacher and a delightful young man.
We will miss Peter greatly.
February 9, 2019
Mr. Pham was, and still is one of the best math teachers I've ever had. I had him for two years in middle school, and I remember how freaked out I would get in class when he called on me to answer a question. Even though I hated it, it helped me become a better student. He knew how to connect with his students and challenge them to become better thinkers. I will always remember him fondly.
P.S. Sorry for drinking all of your coffee :)
February 9, 2019
He was one of the most hilarious teachers I had. But he could be very strict within a blink of an eye. Not only did he teach me a lot about math, he taught me a lot about life and how important it should be to me. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be in school today. One of my favorite moments is when I finally graduated from Mercer and finally made it to high school. I would come as much as I could after school to see my old middle school teachers. I would walk into his portable and he’s mouth would drop open with a gasp without fail and he would shout my name in a funny way as I entered “ITS TAAAJJJAAA”. We’d sit there, Id eat his classroom Candy(he’d always offer me pretzels lol), and we’d have talks about his life and family. I’ll forever cherish these moments! Thank you Mr. Pham, for everything. I’ll miss you. Forever and always💕
February 9, 2019
The atmosphere that you created in your classroom made learning easy. How your portable became a hangout spot for people to play cards, and you would dominate us with your card counting. The things that you taught me that still lingers in my mind today. You have made an impact greater than any other teacher has made in my life.
When you wrote Euler's identity on the pages of my yearbook I didn't know what it meant. When you spoke about your aspirations of being a mathematician, but ultimately choosing to become a teacher, you made me realize the sacrifices that you made to educate the future. You inspired me and many others; you recognized the potential in youth. You dedicated yourself to teaching mischevious teenagers in middle school, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Thank you, Mr. Phamtastic. You might've only been a teacher at school, but you're a mathematician in all of our hearts.
Rest in Peace.
February 9, 2019
Mr.Pham was such an influential and significant role model in my life. He made me feel welcomed in a place where I felt a little lost. He always welcomed me and we connected in a way that no other student and teacher would. A smile would never leave his face and he always cracked jokes.
I remember in middle school where people actually thought Mr.Pham was my dad because our last names so we put a little fun in it and he referred to me as his “daughter”. That brought us closer together and he was one of the reasons why I went back to visit Mercer. Even though he moved and started teaching at another school, my friends and I still put in the effort to hang out with him years after. And I’m glad we did so. We’ve made so much memories and those will always fulfill my thoughts.
Thank you for everything, Mr.Pham. You are always in my thoughts.
February 9, 2019
I remember being in Mr. Pham’s geometry class like it was yesterday. He would write notes under the document camera with different colored Sharpie pens. I can still remember the way he wrote; lightly, neat, and without a doubt full of knowledge. Sharpie pens will forever be associated with him. Whenever a student asked for the answer, he would laugh and point to the large student-made poster on the wall saying “It’s not about the answer, It’s about the process.” He made our class repeat this in unison so many times. This quote would become such an influential part of my life and of the students who had him. Mr. Pham was the most caring teacher and he taught all of us more than just math. I wish I could thank him again. Rest easy, Mr. Pham, I can assure you we are focused on the process.
February 9, 2019
Mr. Pham was one of the best teachers I've ever had in my life. He was the definition of "phamtastic." His door was always open for students to come in, literally. From the early mornings to after-school, to even texting him homework problem questions from an unknown number, he was always there to help me. His knowledge and passion for teaching encouraged me to endure math and have patience. Mr. Pham was kind, funny, and enthusiastic. Many students, including myself, would hang out in his portable classroom during lunch because he was such a welcoming person. I felt that many students were able to connect with him. Sure, the math content was tough and all, but when you have a great teacher like Mr. Pham, everything was so much better.
I wanted to express my gratitude towards Mr. Pham. For the huge influence, he had on me and for all great time and memories that I had with him. Mr. Pham, thank you for everything you’ve given me and for all your students. And may you rest in peace.
February 9, 2019
I did not have Mr. Pham as a teacher at all, I would visit his class from time to time to see my friends. I was shy and quiet but he was very open and easy to talk to for a socially awkward girl like me. He was a great person to talk to and very humorous. My best memories was when I was 8th grade, I was an office TA and after passing out notes to classrooms, I would make my way to his classroom to visit him and his TA- who is a friend of mine. We would have small talk about my classes and how I am and he would give me candies and chocolates. I have never left his classroom or walked away from him without a smile or a laugh. I want to say thank you to Mr. Pham, he let me get out of my comfort zone when socializing and he always looked out for me.
February 9, 2019
Peter is my former coworker, a great friend, and an awesome teacher! It was my first year teaching at middle school, he was the first person among the staff who gave me a hand, who started a conversation with me and who made me feel welcome and belonged. During the time we worked together, I walked by his portable classroom with his jokes and smiles everyday. He was always there to help and keep me going in those bad days! When he left the school for new opportunities, I moved into his old classroom and he gave me everything to start my own class. Peter, I am still there now, with your fan, your ikea shelves and your beloved old whiteboard, and I will take care of them like you always did. You were the teacher who always stayed late with tons of students hanging out in your classroom because you gave them a space to be who they are; you were the teacher whose students still came back to my classroom looking for you after many years; you were the teacher who inspired your college with humor. You were a great friend who always checked on me even though I was always busy and couldn’t make time, you never gave up on me; a great friend who listened to my complaints at work and always be on my ally; a great friend who shared valuable advice with me. Thank you, Peter for everything! I am going to miss you, your jokes and the lunch I wanted to take you to. Sending my love and thoughts to your wonderful wife, kids and family. You will be always with us, always... just like the old days we worked together...
February 9, 2019
Mr. Pham is really one of a kind. When I was in middle school, I thought he would be just another teacher - but that was all wrong when I became his TA. He was one of those teachers who takes out his time and effort for his students - to get to really know them. Because of this, he really pushes each student to their best potential. Hands down to such an amazing teacher, to an amazing person. He has touched so many lives, and left so many impressions and mark - he certainly left a great impression on me. To be kind, humorous, caring, and knowledgable as him - is everything. He has been my role model since. Always giving me advice, encouragement, and even helping me with math in high school - I can't thank him enough. He has honestly done so much, and doesn't expect anything in return.
Thank you for always being there for me, Mr. Pham. Thank you for introducing your family to me, thank you for everything from Costco errands to bubble tea runs. I will miss visiting you every year. It has been an honor to be your student. May you rest in peace, Mr. Pham.
Isabella Des Roches
February 7, 2019
Mr. Pham was one of the best math teachers I've ever had. Math is not an easy subject for me, but taking his pre-calculous class during my Junior year gave me a new eye for the subject; now that I'm in university, I still use skills that Mr. Pham taught me. He was so patient when I struggled, was an incredible teacher, and never gave up on me. He even stayed until 5pm with me after school just so I could understand the material being taught. Mr. Pham never wanted to see any of his students struggle and made it his duty to fix any self-doubt or uncertainties with his students. He is such a giving and caring person, and is one of the most positive, heart-felt people I've ever met. It was a true privilege to be one of his students in such a welcoming and dynamic class that he created. It breaks my heart to see him pass as one of my beloved teachers, but I know that he is smiling down at us from the heavens. He will always be in my thoughts and in my heart. I send my condolences and best wishes to his wife and children, relatives, friends, and co-workers.