Tony (Vinh Quang) Pham died peacefully on Saturday, June 10, 2023. He was ninety-three years old. His wife, Theresa (Phi Vu) Pham, was by his side. The couple have been married for sixty-seven years.

Tony was born on April 25, 1930, in Hanoi, Vietnam, to parents Pham Van Minh and Chu Thi Tu. He was the youngest of three children. His mother, who had him much later in life when her two daughters were already in their 20s, considered him a “miracle baby.”

After the Fall of French Indochina in 1954, Tony’s family moved to Saigon to start a new life, and Tony began his military career with the South Vietnamese Army. At age 25, Tony caught the eyes of a sweet seventeen-year-old girl, Phi, of close family friends. After some inquiries, the two met, and the rest was history. Tony and Theresa married on July 5, 1955. They have six children, three boys and three girls.

Tony, a rising star in the Vietnamese army, was trained by the United States military in 1960. Tony rose to the rank of Colonel and received several distinctions from the U.S. and South Vietnam Armies, including the United States of America Bronze Star Medal in 1973.

In 1973 Tony was part of the South Vietnamese delegation sent to Paris, France, for the Paris Peace Talks, which ultimately resulted in a treaty between North Vietnam and the United States for the U.S. to leave Vietnam and end the Vietnam War. In 1975, North Vietnam invaded the South, and the South Vietnamese government collapsed, leading to Vietnam’s reunification under communism.

After the fall of Saigon, Tony and his family immigrated to the United States. With the help of a U.S. Army colleague, the late Colonel Robert Cowherd and his family, and Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia, Tony’s family settled and thrived over the next forty-eight years in Alexandria. Tony worked as a computer data operator for the George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C., until his retirement in 1990. 

A devout Catholic, Tony and his wife volunteered in numerous church and community activities. Tony served as Lay Eucharist Minister and sacristan for Good Shepherd Church for over 25 years. He was also the oldest and longest-serving altar server for the daily morning Mass. Tony provided childcare for families at church, delivered meals in the “Meals on Wheels” program for the elderly, and regularly visited residents at Mondloch House, a supportive housing community for those experiencing homelessness. Tony also volunteered for Mount Vernon Nursing Center by assisting with the weekly rosary and Mass for the residents for a number of years.

A gentle soul with a quiet disposition, Tony worked hard to care for his family and those around him. Tony represented a true and good Catholic by living out God’s teachings. He was always willing to sacrifice for loved ones, never seeking attention or personal gain. A story not often told that demonstrates Tony’s kindness is his devotion to Tai, a young Vietnamese immigrant who came to America alone. After a tragic accident, Tai became a paraplegic and was confined to a nursing home. Despite at first being strangers, Tony and Theresa would visit Tai and feed him a home-cooked Vietnamese meal every week. They continued to be by his side for 30 years more until Tai’s death.

Tony was an avid gardener. After his retirement, he spent his free time tending to his garden of plants, flowers, and vegetables. Not only was he handy around the house, but he was also a gifted artist. His greatest joy was helping his children and grandchildren with various school projects that required a creative touch.

Tony is survived by his wife, Theresa and his six children, Ann Pham (Frank Clay Jr.) of Alexandria, Virginia; Joseph Pham of Alexandria, Virginia; Dr. Dominic Pham, Dennis Harp of Cambridge, Massachusetts; , Dr. Mary Pham (Dr. Harry Smouse) of Colorado Springs, Colorado; De Pham (Goran Lifvenborg) of Surrey, Canada; and Gerard Pham (Jennifer Boyd) of Glenside, Pennsylvania; his grandchildren Tricia Clay (Eric Long), Frank Clay IV, John Smouse, Samantha Boyd, Alexander and Christopher Lifvenborg; and his great-grandchildren, Owen and Casey Long.

The family requests contributions to the Good Shepherd Housing Family Services and the Mondloch House instead of flowers. The Pham family is eternally grateful to these two organizations as they were instrumental in helping them settle in America.

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This Obituary Has 4 Condolences

  1. Dear Theresa and family. we are saddened to hear of Tony’s death and know what a great sorrow has fallen to all of you. He will be remembered well for all of his kindness to the many people he befriended and helped through the years. Your many years at Good Shepherd were a blessing to all who knew you throughout those years. Theresa you are in our prayers as you recall the memories of you and Tony, hoping most bring a smile. We know Tony is with his God and at peace. Sending love to you and the Family. Barbara Cotter

  2. I remember the Pham family. Ann Pham and at least 2 siblings were in my math classes at FHHS. I see 2 members of the Pham family live here in Colorado Springs. Please accept our heartfelt condolences. With love and deepest sympathy,
    Winfield Pate

    1. Dear Mr. Pate,
      Thank you so much for kind words of condolences. I’m so touched that you still remember our family. (Ft Hunt HS -1975-76) . I was in your Trig class.
      I found you on FB, so I sent you a message. Hope it reaches you.
      Many thanks again
      Ann Pham Clay

  3. What a wonderful family! When Tony, Theresa and family came to Alexandria my step mom Mary Barker and dad helped them in many ways as they settled in. They continued a wonderful friendship for over 40 years that brought such joy to my parents.
    May all the wonderful memories with Tony bring Theresa and the family peace.

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