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Niem Van Phan, age 75, passed away in the comfort of his home around loved ones. After a prolonged battle against cancer over the last 6 months, his life ended on Thursday, July 9th 2020 at 4:45am. Niem was born on February 6th, 1945 in Quang Tri, Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, he proudly served his democratic nation of South Vietnam as a Captain of the renowned South Vietnamese Army Rangers. He risked his life and even suffered a bullet wound to the right lung in order to defend the liberty and democracy of his country. During the liberation of Hue from Viet Cong occupation, he met his spouse of 52 years, Kim-Chi Ngo and they started a family together.

After the fall of South Vietnam, Niem was imprisoned in the so-called “Re-education Camps,” for three years. He was exploited for manual labor and suffered various forms of mental and physical abuse. After being released, post-war life in communist Vietnam was challenging. Due to his affiliation with the former democratic government, the odds were stacked against him. Consequently, his family lived in poverty and oppression for years. But in 1992, due to his time spent in the Communist prison camp, Niem and his family were brought to the United States. Coming with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, Niem’s family worked hard to realize the American dream. Niem worked extra hard to open doors for and change the lives of his children. Without ever complaining, he worked his way up through many physically demanding low paying jobs. Eventually, he earned a spot as a skilled laborer for Alpha Technology’s assembly line. In addition to working hard to earn money, he was also very selfless. By living frugally, spending nothing for himself, and saving his earnings, Niem was able to purchase a nice suburban home in Lansing and send all six of his children to college. He will be missed immensely and continue to live on in the memory of his wife, Kim-Chi, children: Quan, Thuy, Tranh, Long, Huy, Danny, and grandchildren: Minh-Anh, Eric, Aleena, Andrew, Adelyn, and Ryan.

Unfortunately, due to visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, a funeral service will be held only for immediate family members. Niem’s body will be cremated on July 10th, 2020 and his ashes will be delivered to Chua Dai Bi in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Niem’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, 616-452-3006.


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2 Condolences

  1. JIm Rudolph on July 10, 2020 at 9:04 am

    I wish that I had met this man. It would be an honor to buy his dinner. What an inspiring story. Soldier. Worker. Husband. Dad. May God bless his family. What an example for us all. He is what makes America a great place to live.

  2. Joy on July 11, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    This man raised great kids! He is a great example to all of us. May God bless his family.

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