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Jerrett Funeral Homes - St. Clair Chapel

1141 St Clair Ave West, Toronto, ON

OBITUARY

Mr. Hung Van Du

August 25, 1942February 6, 2020
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Mr. Hung Van Du’s family is appreciative and overcome by all the love, compassion and support that’s been shown towards them and Mr. Du during this challenging time. It is evident that Mr. Du left footprints and a void in many people’s lives. Mr. Du will be remembered for his resolve, compassionate, loving, and generous nature.

Mr. Du’s family would like to thank everyone who traveled near and far to celebrate his life by attending his funeral and memorial service; and for donating to charities close to his heart.

We would also like to thank Venerable Thay Nhu Thanh and the sangha from Kim Quang Temple for performing the funeral and Buddhist service; Cathy Le and all the staff at Jarrett’s Funeral Home; Dianne Correia and the staff from Prospect Cemetery; and for the following families/companies who sent flowers: Oxford Properties Group, Highlights Auto Collision, Nelson Vu and his family, Iberia Insurance, Chinh Huu Le and his family, Vivian & Andy Choi, Vanessa and Ray Ho, Tina and Richard Chau; and Thuan, Thy and Tho Nguyen Dao.

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OBITUARY

Hung Van Du, 77, passed away peacefully at his home on February 6, 2020.

Mr. Du (as he was always affectionately referred to) was born to successful businessman Ba Van Du and Chuong Thi Le in the city of Sa Dec, Vietnam, in 1942. The seventh of ten children, Mr. Du followed in his father’s footsteps, first managing the family’s tile factory and then establishing his own company, an ice plant in his late 20’s. After the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, Mr. Du, his parents and most of his siblings were incarcerated in re-education camps operated by the Communist government of Vietnam. Mr. Du was released after two years of imprisonment.

In 1978, Mr. Du met his second wife, Tien Kim Nguyen, and in 1979, they fled Vietnam by boat when Tien was five months pregnant with their first child. After travelling by sea for five days and five nights, they arrived safely to the island of Terempa, Indonesia. Their first daughter was born in Terempa, before they were transferred to Galang Refugee Camp for eight months. While in Indonesia, Mr. Du worked multiple jobs, including transporting durian for a local farmer, growing beansprouts, making sugar cane candy, and fishing. He was often compensated with food which he brought home to feed his young family. The refugee camps were overcrowded, they endured poor living conditions, and even after losing everything, this did not deter Mr. Du and his wife from pursuing their dreams of a better life for their family after the Vietnam War. This was a testament of their resolve and strength of character, qualities they continued to embody throughout their lives. Over time, Mr. Du opened a popular coffee stand for local refugees, followed by a thrift shop.

In 1980, after living in the refugee camps for 11 months, Mr. Du and his family were sponsored by Mrs. Helen Morgan and her church to resettle in Sundre, Alberta, Canada. They arrived in Canada on April 14, 1980 and were embraced with immeasurable compassion and generosity by Mrs. Morgan and the Sundre community. Between 1981 and 1987, Mr. Du and his family relocated several times for work, residing in Calgary, Red Deer and Lethbridge, Alberta. During this time, they welcomed two more children, and launched three companies, an Asian-fusion restaurant and two billiards. In 1987, Mr. Du and his family relocated for the last time to Toronto, Ontario to connect with a larger Vietnamese community and to be closer to his brothers who resettled in the state of New York and Virginia.

Mr. Du continued to be an entrepreneur and businessman throughout his life in Toronto. Together with his wife, they established two successful convenience stores in the early 1990’s on Queen St. West and China Town. With the profits they earned, they later became owners of a body shop, a pharmacy and a rehabilitation centre. In 1997, Mr. Du and his family moved to the neighborhood of Regal Heights. By 2005, they purchased a commercial building in Corso Italia with the aim of supporting and growing local businesses in their community. Mr. Du’s last business venture was helping his wife and children create a community yoga studio and a not-for-profit mindfulness centre. Tien fell in love with yoga after she retired in 2011, and Mr. Du wanted his wife to have her own studio to practice at within walking distance of their home. Both companies have been serving the Greater Toronto Area, and more specifically in the districts of St. Clair Gardens, Corso Italia, Oakwood Village, Regal Heights, and Wychwood Barns since 2013 and 2011, respectively.

In 2012, Mr. Du was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). His health declined rapidly during the spring of 2013, and he required oxygen therapy to help him breathe. Nonetheless, Mr. Du’s strength and spirit was formidable. In November 2013, he was reborn again after he received a gift of life and underwent a successful right single lung transplant at the Toronto General Hospital’s Multi-Organ Transplant Unit. He recovered well and finally retired. He spent most of his time gardening, reading, scrapbooking, going for walks and drinking coffee with his wife, eating all of his favourite foods, spending time with his children and grandchildren, and traveling. Shortly after celebrating five years post-lung transplant, Mr. Du’s health began to decline again. In the summer of 2019, he was diagnosed with Stage 3b/4 lung cancer and the pulmonary fibrosis had also spread in his native left lung. Unfortunately, Mr. Du was not a candidate for cancer treatment and received in-home palliative care for the remainder of his life.

While Mr. Du was renowned for having unwavering work ethics and being a workaholic, he was also notorious for being tremendously compassionate, loving, giving, generous, and forgiving. He was passionate about supporting his siblings and family members back in Vietnam, continually trying to give them the same opportunities he received in Canada. Mr. Du believed that he was blessed to be Vietnamese Canadian, that it was of utmost importance to give back, and to help those less fortunate or who just needed a helping hand. Until his health condition made it impossible, Mr. Du was active in Toronto’s Vietnamese community. He was also admired for rallying his fellow citizens to vote at every provincial and national election, believing that everyone had a voice and the ability to make a difference.

Like his father, Mr. Du never left his house without wearing his fedora or poor boy hat. He had an immaculate memory and enjoyed telling stories to those willing or unwilling to listen. His stern expression was often intimidating but it was balanced with his big genuine smile that could light up a room. Mr. Du was legendary for being blunt, opinionated and having a tenacity for telling it like it is. He always told you the truth even if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear but needed to hear. Although his words of encouragement and wisdom may not have always been received well, it always came from a caring place.

Above all, Mr. Du loved his enormous family and constantly kept them at the centre of his heart. He instilled in his children strong values and principles that served him well and was a very proud grandfather. He was eternally grateful for the courage and compassion of his doner and their family; and the goodwill of his incredible medical and palliative team, who all gave him the gift of life and over six more years with his loved ones.

Of all the successes and lives he impacted, Mr. Du’s most proud achievement in life was meeting his wife Tien, who loved him unconditionally even when he was a penniless man, and faithfully supported him as his primary caregiver during their last days together. Before he passed away, he told his youngest daughter, “your mother sacrificed everything for me and she did not have an easy life growing up; she is the kindness and most devoted person I know, and I love her very much, more than anything.”

Mr. Du will be profoundly missed. He is survived by his sisters: Thi Gioi Du, Hanh Thi Du, Phuc Thi Du; brothers: Thanh Van Du, Ngan Van Du, and Van Du; his wife, Tien Kim Nguyen; children: Trung Du from his first marriage, Gia-Huy Anh Tran (daughter-in-law), Kelly Du-Bruins, Robert Bruins (son-in-law), Chau Du and Luan Du; his grandchildren, Trent, Theodore, Velvet, Bobby, and Felix; and his many beloved nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Hung Van Du’s life will be held on Friday February 14, 2020 between 5pm-9pm, and the funeral service will be on February 15, 2020, both at Jarrett’s Funeral Home- St. Clair Chapel, 1141 St. Clair Ave West, Toronto, Ontario.

  • DONATIONS

  • Trillium Gift of Life Network: www.giftoflife.on.ca
  • University Health Network's Multi-Organ Transplant Program: tgwhf.ca/campaigns/transplant
  • The Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care : www.tlcpc.org

Services

  • Visitation Friday, February 14, 2020
  • Visitation Saturday, February 15, 2020
  • Funeral Service Saturday, February 15, 2020

Memories

Mr. Hung Van Du

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THAI-AN DU

February 10, 2020

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