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Thu Trang Nguyen

Thu Trang Nguyen died peacefully at home on Sept. 3, 2013. She was 66 years old. Thu faced cancer with fierce courage, tremendous grace, and a comforting sense of humor. Her last days were spent surrounded and tenderly cared for by family. She passed in the comforting arms of her daughter, Paula. She is survived by her daughter, Tanyau Brannen of Lenexa, KS, her daughter, Paula McNeil of Glenwood Springs, CO, her son, Andrew Nguyen of Lewisville, TX, and stepdaughter, Thuy Nguyen of Los Angeles, CA. She is also survived by four grandchildren and numerous brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. Thu was born on Aug. 1, 1947 to Huyen Nguyen and Chu Hi Le Nguyen in Hue, formerly the Imperial Capital of Vietnam.

As the youngest of nine children, she carried the nickname, “Chot”, indicating she was last … even after her younger sister was born! She was raised in a village on the banks of the Perfume River, named for the aroma imparted by the jasmine blossoms which bloom and fall into the water each autumn. Although she grew up amid the most heated combat of the Vietnam War, she preferred to talk about innocent and amusing stories from her childhood. Thu emigrated to the U.S. in 1971 and soon began working as a seamstress and pattern maker, a job she was offered when the employer assumed she had designed and sewn the clothes she was wearing. She thought his misunderstanding was her lucky break … until she realized how technical the work was! Not being one to give up, she borrowed books from the library and taught herself the necessary skills. Eventually she started her own company. Relying on hard work and excellent craftsmanship, she grew her business from a home-based family operation into a multinational corporation with factories in the U.S., Mexico and Vietnam. She lived in Texas from 1971 until 2008 when she moved to Glenwood Springs. She loved the Roaring Fork Valley because the rivers and mountains reminded her of her first home.

She had an adventurous spirit and enjoyed physical activity. She went whitewater rafting for the first time just a few weeks before passing. However, when invited to go paragliding, she responded with a wry smile, “Next summer.” She loved cooking and took great pleasure in sharing food with others, especially Vietnamese favorites like Pho’ and egg rolls. She also enjoyed gardening and had a gift for creating beauty with plants and flowers. She had a beautiful voice and loved karaoke, sometimes hosting singing parties that lasted until morning. Most of all, her Christian faith was a source of great strength, comfort, and peace. She eagerly anticipated freedom and union upon finishing her work here. She was extremely grateful for the care she received from so many people at Glenwood Medical Associates, Valley View Hospital, Calaway-Young Cancer Center, and Hospice of the Valley.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to Hospice of the Valley. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Oct. 26 in the home of John and Marianne Ackerman, 1480 Oak Way Avenue, Glenwood Springs, CO. Gentleness and generosity set the tone of her interactions with friends, and she loved her family enough to speak honestly whether we liked it or not. One of her last admonitions was, “Make every decision from love because in the end it’s the only thing that matters.” Indeed, she filled our hearts and our lives with love, laughter, and just enough chaos to keep things exciting. She is greatly missed.

“Well done, good and faithful servant.” —Matthew 25:21


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