May Song Vang, Mrs. General Vang Pao, last public appearance and speech was at the Hmong 18 Clan Council of Wisconsin on July 20, 2013 in Appleton, Wisconsin. She passed away on August 5, 2013 in Santa Ana, California due to an illness of cancer.
Click here to watch May Song Vang, Mrs. General Vang Pao, last speech at the Hmong 18 Clan Council of Wisconsin event held on July 20, 2013 in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Below taken from a Press Release from General Vang Pao family on the passed away of May Song Vang:
MAY SONG VANG
February 5, 1951 – August 5, 2013
The Vang Family announce with great sadness the loss of their beloved mother May Song Vang on Monday 5th August 2013.
A traditional three day Hmong funeral service is expected to be held at Fresno Fairgrounds on Friday 23rd August through Monday 26th August.
May Song Vang, the youngest wife of the late Hmong leader General Vang Pao, died Monday at her home in Orange County, according to her son, ChiNeng Vang. She was 62.
Vang was born in northern Laos, in a farming village called Phou Dou. She was the fourth of 13 children, and was not expected to amount to much in life because of her family’s economic status, but Vang defied all odds against her, and completed Sisawavong Medical University in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. As a mid-wife, surgical nurse, and physician assistant, she worked for years to help those less fortunate. While nursing injured soldiers one day, a young military commander stopped to check-in on his cadets. Although that man was nearly 20 years her senior, and already had a few wives (it was customary in those times), she knew it was love at first sight.
It wasn’t easy to be the youngest wife of a rising military official, who was later tapped by the CIA to lead a guerrilla army in Laos, but she stood by her husband’s side, through war and politics, journeying with him until two years ago, when he died of pneumonia in Fresno. His funeral was attended by tens of thousands of Hmong people, some who traveled from as far away as France and Thailand, to offer their condolences.
“She was a remarkable woman,” says ChiNeng Vang of his mother. “Not because she was the wife of General Vang Pao, not because she was my mom, but because of her self-less nature. Like my dad, she devoted her life to helping Hmong people.”
He remembers a recent trip with his mom, to attend the official opening of the only public school in the world, named after her husband, in southeast Fresno— Vang Pao Elementary School.
“She’s sick, and weak, fighting her cancer, but she refuses to let the illness stop her from attending,” says the youngest son, ChiNeng Vang. “Her face lit up that day. She couldn’t stop talking about the school. It was one of her life’s accomplishments, to witness the dedication of a school named after her husband.”
Her speech to the kids that day: stay in school, pursue higher education at all costs, and love and support one another. It’s a message she gave herself long ago when she was just a little girl in northern Laos.
“May Song Vang will be remembered as a caring nurse, loving wife, and respected mother to Hmong people,” says Dr. Tony Moua, vice president of the General Vang Pao Foundation, a new non-profit dedicated to supporting the vision of the late Hmong general. “After her husband died, she became our mother and father, and advocated especially for Hmong women. Now our community is without a parent, a leader, a female role model.”
Vang is survived by her three sons: Chu Long Vang, Chu Leng Vang, ChiNeng Vang, and eight grandchildren. But Vang was also mother to 15 additional sons and five daughters because of her husband’s multiple marriages.
For more on her funeral services, please contact: