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Charles (Chanh) Cong Pham
July 30, 1933 ~ November 16, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old
5 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Charles (Chanh)'s family - View on Tribute Wall
Charles (Chanh) Cong Pham, aged 90, of Wyoming, Michigan, passed away peacefully on November 16th, 2023, surrounded by his family at Faith Hospice at Trillium Woods in Byron Center. Heartfelt gratitude goes to the amazing staff for their kindness, love, and attention during his final days. It is a gift to have had his last days filled with the dignity Faith Hospice provided Charles.
Charles was blessed with family and friends who loved and adored him throughout his life, and he always returned that love many times over. Through faith, hope, and charity, he started a new life with his family in 1975, as many had to do at the end of the Vietnam War. With the kindness of Arthur Lord, a friend and mentor from NBC who sought to save families at the end of the Vietnam War, Charles and his family could leave Saigon and create a new life in America.
The journey started at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, a refugee camp, awaiting news of sponsorship, work, and a visa from the same gentleman who saved his family. With no new opportunities, Charles decided to continue his career in photojournalism with NBC in New York, living in the Bronx. However, long hours on the subway to and from work left little time for him to nurture a large family in a new country. So he reached out to Reverend Schipper, a missionary he'd met at Fort Chaffee, who brought news of sponsorship by the Wyoming Presbyterian Church. With little in hand, a move to Wyoming, Michigan, led to another adventure. By accepting the charity of the church congregation and a welcoming community, the necessities of food, clothes, and shelter were provided to make a new home in the winter wonderland of Michigan. New friendships, a diverse neighborhood, and the love surrounding his life encouraged Charles's perseverance and adventure to start a career with General Motors as an electrician at BOC on 36th St.
Charles lived a full life with family and friends. As a young man, he joined the Vietnamese Airforce, which sponsored his tech education at a school in Auxerre, France. During the Vietnam War, he used his skills as a sound and audio tech, an interpreter, and a freelance photographer. His courage created many opportunities for accomplishments and the joy of trying for those around him. He taught his kids and his sons-in-law his skills as an electrician and proved it by wiring his own home from the stud. As a father, an uncle, and a friend, he was known for his gentle soul and funny disposition, bringing light and laughter to every occasion. He was a true gentleman, adventurer, and a life-long learner, constantly seeking knowledge to pass on to his family through books and newspapers. He was intrigued by medicine and healthcare, enjoyed camping, hunting, and traveling to provide memories at every turn. After he retired from General Motors, he and Kim moved to California to enjoy the weather with friends and relatives there. Eventually, he missed his kids and grandchildren and returned to Michigan to live out his remaining days.
Charles is survived by his wife of 61 years, Kim Pham; daughter Thuy and Jeff Babcock, residing in Holland; son Tom and Kristen Pham, residing in Wyoming; daughter Maggie and Kraig Schultz, residing in Grand Haven; son Tony Pham and Regina Kohls, residing in Cincinnati, OH; son Tu Pham, residing in Canadian Lakes; and daughter Sophie(Phi) and Mike Cramer, residing in Rockford. Through grace and blessing, his family prospered and extended, with granddaughter Kelly (Mike Smith) having great-grandchildren Jack and Audrianna; grandson Perry (Ashley) Babcock, providing great-grandkids Dominic, Milania, and Natalia; granddaughters Shayna (Steve Hammond), Brianna; grandsons Benjamin and Nicholas Schultz; grandson Louie Pham; grandsons Chan (named after Charles) and Colton Pham; granddaughters Isabelle and Sidney Cramer.
Charles will forever be in our hearts. The family will hold a memorial and prayer service followed by a light dinner and fellowship on Saturday, December 9th, 4-6 pm at Carlisle Church, 1084 76th St SW, Byron Center, MI 49315. To further express your kindness, consider donating in Charles's name to Faith Hospice at Trillium Woods in Byron Center to continue their angelic services.