OBITUARY

Thuong Van Bui

April 10, 1930August 24, 2020

Thưởng Văn Bùi April 10, 1930 – August 24, 2020 Thưởng Văn Bùi died at home on Monday, August 24, 2020. Visitation: Thursday, August 27, 7:00-8:00 pm, Friday, August 28, 6:00-7:00 pm and 7:30-8:30 pm Howell-Edwards-Doerksen 1350 Commercial St SE Salem, OR 97302

Funeral Mass: Saturday, August 29, 10:30 am St. Joseph Catholic Church 721 Chemeketa Street NE Salem, OR 97301 followed by Dedication at Belcrest Memorial Park 1295 Browning Avenue S Salem, OR 97302 Our Dad was born in Hà Nam in North Vietnam. He was a wonderful father to nine children and husband of 62 years to Oanh Kim Nguyễn, who preceded him in death. He met our Mom while conducting a school choir. Dad was the choir conductor and fell in love with Mom, he said, equally for her beautiful singing voice and because she was the prettiest girl in five schools. Our parents were married in Hanoi, July 11, 1954.

Just one month after their wedding, the Communist purge in northern Vietnam forced the couple to emigrate to Saigon, where they started a family. While Mom was raising nine children, Dad worked as a teacher at Thủ Khoa and Hoàng Việt in Saigon, and as a school principal at Binh-Minh High School in Huế. He then worked as Personnel Manager at Pacific Architecture & Engineering (PA&E) at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport, Saigon 1968-1975.

Dad then went to work with U.S. contractors in support of the American war effort. In 1975, after the withdrawal of American forces, and with Communists closing in on Saigon, our family was facing a grim fate. One of us, Anthony, was sent to America through the UNICEF program to be adopted in the hope that at least someone from our family would survive. The following week the rest of us were miraculously offered a chance to go to America, provided we could gather our family together and get back to the airbase within 3 hours. We did, just hours before the fall of Saigon! My Dad wanted us to come to America, rather than Australia or France, and so our journey entailed several months of processing through refugee centers at Clark AB, Philippines; Andersen AB, Guam, then onto Camp Pendleton, California.

Dad chose Oregon as our new home in the United States. When we arrived in Portland, we were assisted by nuns from Mt. Angel. The Mt. Angel nuns also worked as UNICEF sponsors, so our parents immediately inquired about the possibility of finding and reuniting with our brother, Đạt (Anthony). Do you believe in miracles? It turned out Đạt was already living in Salem, Oregon – exactly where our family was going to settle. Of all the places in the world he could have been placed by UNICEF, he was in Salem, and now, so were we!

Soon thereafter, Mom and Dad passed their Naturalization tests and we all became grateful and proud Americans.

Our Dad led the establishment of the first Vietnamese-Catholic community in the United States. He ensured that later-arriving Vietnamese refugees assimilated as proud Americans while also preserving our Vietnamese roots and pre-Communist cultural heritage. We were raised to love God and to be grateful for the opportunities we had.

Dad had a successful career of 17 years as a Case Manager with the State of Oregon (DHS), where he also assisted countless new Vietnamese emigrants to build a new life here. He retired from State service in 1992, at which point he devoted a great deal of his time and energy to the Church, including serving as a pre-marriage counselor, leading Bible classes, and serving as a patriarch encouraging the growth of the Vietnamese-Catholic community in Salem and Portland. Along with Cha Minh (Father Vincent), their vision to create a permanent community for Catholic Vietnamese to worship led to the establishment of La Vang at the Vicariate (Portland Archdiocese).

Our brother, Tuấn A. Bùi, preceded our parents in death. Dad is survived by daughters Lệ Khanh Daniel and Jennifer B. Sullivan, and sons David Dũng. Bùi, Michael Minh Bùi, John Ngọc Bùi, Vũ A. Bùi, Anthony Đạt Bùi, and Christopher Chí Bùi, eighteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. We were incredibly blessed to have Thưởng as our Dad, Grandfather, and Great-Grandfather. We know he is with our Savior, Jesus Christ, but until we are all reunited, he will be very deeply missed.

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, August 27, 2020

  • Visitation

    Friday, August 28, 2020

  • Funeral Mass

    Saturday, August 29, 2020

  • Graveside Service

    Saturday, August 29, 2020

Memories

Thuong Van Bui

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