January 2, 1944 - September 18, 2021
In Loving Memory of Our Dad, Our Hero
Thongvanh Phanouvong of Portland, Oregon
On the morning of September 18th, Thongvanh Phanouvong (our Dad) peacefully passed away at St. Vincent Providence. Dad was 77 years old.
Dad was born on January 2, 1944 in Luangprabang, Laos to his father, Ounheuan Vongprachanh and mother, Khamchanh. Dad was the oldest of 10 children and took care of his siblings like he was their second father. Out of the 9 siblings, three were deceased.
Dad graduated high school level from Laos, he was athletic, played kickball, soccer and other sports when he was an adolescent. Started working for the Lao Government shortly after his education and then worked for the US Government.
My parents lived in the same home town so they grew up knowing each other. They dated when dad was 19 years old and mom, Khampheng Lapphavong was only 15 years old. Their favorite thing to do for date night was to go have a quick bite to eat on dad’s motorcycle cruising to Luangprabang street food and then go watch a movie. They dated for six years and after mom graduated from nursing school & started her nursing career was when they tied the knot. They wed on March 22, 1969.
Three years after they wed, their daughter (myself) Hongnapha Phanouvong was born September 16, 1972 and then a few years after that, their son Panyakorn Phanouvong was born on July 10, 1974. Their nick-names Koong and Kop, which means Shrimp and Frog.
Five years later and during the Vietnam war, Dad snucked his family out of Laos (as Laos was becoming a Communist country) and into Thailand where they applied to come to America, Land of the free & Opportunity. They were sponsored by dad’s younger brother, uncle David Phanouvong and finally arrived into the United States. Since dad’s name is quite long, he was given the nickname TV or Tom for short so it’s easier for everyone in America to pronounce. Dad worked as a Hearing Aid Technician for Starkey’s Northwest for well over 25+ years until his retirement. Mom also worked there for 20+ years; they literally worked together, sat next to each other, go everywhere together and do everything together. Love and supported one another through thick and thin; Mom was dad’s caretaker when he needed help and Dad was mom’s caretake when she needed help, they were inseparable…truly soul mates. This year, they celebrated 52 years of marriage!
Dad has three grandchildren who he absolutely adores – Preston Bee who’s 19, Jasmine JenJen Bee is 15 and Ciara CiCi Bee is 13. These kids are his pride and joy and he absolutely loves playing and spending time with them and they too, love their grandpa so dearly.
Dad loves the Lao Temple where he finds peace and joy. My parents love the Lao Community and the Temple is like their second home. He was the type of dad who was always there to help and support us, even if he didn’t have the finances to do so, he would find a way. He was the type of dad that we could always count on to pick us up from school, from cheer practices, tennis practices or football games. Our dad has the biggest heart; his love for his brothers, nephews and nieces…he loves them just like they were his own children and it shows because they also love & respect dad just like he was their dad.
When we were younger, our dad would take us fishing all the time as fishing was one of his favorite hobbies. Besides fishing, he loves to spend time with loved ones, loves to garden, loves to watch all sports on TV (especially soccer, basketball, football), loves to watch the Lao YouTube or the Cooking Channel with mom. Despite his kidney transplant from a few years ago, dad was very active and healthy, often walking 2-3 miles each morning at Clackamas Town Center.
Dad makes friends everywhere he goes; he is the type of person who can get along with just about anyone. He is very friendly, sociable and always welcome others in with an open arm, offering food and drinks to anyone he sees. His doctors, nurses and care team all love him and always rave about how amazing he is. His doctor personally called us, cried with us and told us she loves dad like her dad. Dad is truly loved and well-respected by all families, friends and Community and it truly shows.
Heaven has Gained another Angel. Our Hero, Our Dad. Thank you, Dad, for your unconditional love and for giving us the best life we can have. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you and mom. We are so blessed to have you as our Dad and now our Guardian Angel. We all LOVE you so very much!