Minh Ha


October 16th, 1924 - November 10th, 2018

Minh Ha passed away peacefully in Stockton, CA. She was surrounded by her children and grandchildren.

She graced her family with a legacy of strong work ethics, resilience, and zest for life-long learning. She was married for 36 years to her college classmate, Quy Van To, in 1947. They attended the Teaching College in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. They lived through Japan, China, and French occupations, the division of Viet Nam in 1954 and 20-year Civil War. In 1954, to escape the communists, they left North Viet Nam to restart their life with 3 small children in Saigon.

Minh was a school teacher for 36 years at various schools in Viet Nam and served as an elementary school administrator for 10 years at Dinh Tien Hoang Elementary in Saigon. She was trilingual, speaking French, Vietnamese, and English. She authored the 5th grade Vietnamese language arts curriculum that was used across South Viet Nam. In April 1975, her life took a bad turn when the communists invaded South Viet Nam. They forced her to resign from her administrative position. Later in 1980, the communists branded her husband a national traitor and took him from their home without a trial.  He passed away in the concentration camp in 1983.

In 1991, Minh and her 6 children emigrated to Stockton, CA. A life-long learner, she attended San Joaquin Delta College and majored in Early Childhood Development. She enjoyed interacting with young college students, and very often led study groups and tutored her classmates. She loved to garden and was an avid reader. She read the local newspaper daily, paid close attention to local and national happenings. She was proud to vote in her first American election in 1996.

Minh was preceded in death by her parents, Quang Ha and Thien Trinh; her brother, Thang Ha; her husband, Quy Van To; two children, Thuy Ha & Nguyen To, and her son-in-law, Dana Cowell. She will be dearly missed by her children: Bich Ha, Anh Ha (Duc), Van Ha, My Ha (Carl), Ngan Ha, Ly Ha, Nhu Trinh (Francisco), Xuan Dinh, and Quynh Giao (An); a niece she raised, Kim Anh (Tan); an adopted son, Hong Truong (Nghia); her grandchildren, William Lam (Jennifer), Evan & Andrew Cowell, Eric & Erika La, Joaquim & Mateus Gutterres-Higino, Angela Eagan (Michael), Michele & Aaron Nguyen; Tuan Anh Truong (Tai); great grandchildren, Avery Lam & Ava Eagan; as well as many other nieces and nephews. Minh is also survived by her brother, Hanh Ha, sister Chinh Ha, and sister Yen Ha; all are residing in Viet Nam.

In honor of her long commitment to education, donations in her memory may be made to Lincoln Unified School District, 2010 West Swain Road, Stockton, CA 95207. On the memo line, please write Cowell Education Scholarship, in memory of Minh Ha.

Cherokee Memorial is honored to serve the Ha family.

There will be a visitation held on Saturday, December 1, 2018, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm and Sunday December 2, 2018 from 10:00am to 12:00pm in the Vineyard Chapel at Cherokee Memorial Park, located at 14165 N. Beckman Road, Lodi CA, 95240.


A celebration of Minh’s life will be held at Cherokee Memorial Park & Funeral Home in the Vineyard Chapel located at 14165 N. Beckman Rd in Lodi, CA at 1:00 PM on December 2, 2018.

Minh’s ashes will be interred at Dieu Quang Buddhist Temple in Sacramento, CA on a later date.

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