My father Hien Luong passed away peacefully on December 14, 2019, at the Palliative Care Unit of Michael Garron Hospital, in Toronto, Ontario. He was 86 years old.
He was born in Saigon (known today as Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam, to parents of Chinese descent. His formative years to adulthood spent in Saigon were intertwined with major events in Vietnam’s history, which included the Japanese occupation during World War II (as part of Japan’s invasion of French Indochina), Vietnam’s independence from France after World War II, and the two-decade long Vietnam War. He often recalled to me the nights spent listening to distant gunfire, and artillery bombardment; sounds which rang louder and closer as the communist Northern Vietnamese troops advanced towards the Southern Vietnamese capital city of Saigon. Prior to South Vietnam’s fall to communism, he and his wife had built a quiet life together and a successful business. Overnight, under the new communist Vietnamese regime, he lost his business, life savings, and his dreams. With great courage, my father paid 16 bars of gold, to buy a one-way ticket onboard the crowded boat “Hai Hong” to escape communist Vietnam, in search of a new life and a better future for himself and his family. This perilous journey was featured by his grandson Ryan in his social sciences project “My Grandpa’s Story: Vietnam to Canada.”
He arrived in Canada in 1978, and set out to build a new life for himself and his family. He performed manual labor for many years, followed by over 20 years of retirement with his wife. Along this journey, he taught his daughter the importance of hard work. Through his encouragement and sacrifices, he helped her to realize her dream of becoming a physician.
He is pre-deceased by his parents, wife of over 50 years Phan (2018), and one older sister. He is survived and greatly missed by his only child Angela (James), and grandchildren Ryan and Kaitlin. Those who know him remember him as a quiet, unassuming man, who saw joy and beauty in the simple things in life. He loved playing table tennis, reading, and watching sports. A highlight of his 2019 was seeing the hometown Toronto Raptors defeat the Golden State Warriors to capture their first 2019 NBA title!
The memorial service will be held on Friday December 20, 2019 (visitation 10 am, funeral 11 am) at York Cemetery, 160 Beecroft Rd, Toronto ON M2N 5Z5.
Memorial donations in his memory can be made to The Canadian Cancer Society.