Thien Van Bui, born January 7, 1936 in Vietnam, married to Hoa Thi Pham in 1956 in Vietnam. They recently celebrated their 60th marriage anniversary. He had 5 children: daughter Kim Nguyen married to Ca Nguyen, son James Bui married to Maria Rojos, daughter Kim Mai married to Deacon Hoa Mai, daughter Chi Nguyen married to Dam Nguyen, and daughter Loan Bui. He had seven grandchildren.
In 1954, he joined the South Vietnamese army – department of logistics. Then he graduated from the Reserved Infantry School and became an Artillery Warrant officer and later was promoted to Lieutenant. In 1966, he volunteered to join the Strategic Technical Directorate Commandos. He was trained by the United States Central Intelligence Agency and United States Army Special Forces for covert action and special reconnaissance and unconventional warfare. In 1967, he became a commander of 111/STRATA (Short Term Reconnaissance And Target Acquisition). In 1968, he was promoted to Major. After another big battlefield victory in the central of Vietnam, he was again promoted to Lieutenant Colonel Commander in 1972. He was a very decorated officer, a brave soldier, and a war hero. He was a man of integrity and God fearing. He was courageous and fearless. He lived and died for his family and his country.
After the fall of Saigon, he and his family were settled in the USA thru the sponsorship of Congressman Charles Stenholm and Chaplain Major William Coen in 1975. While in the USA, he worked for Abilene State School as a shift supervisor. He was a member of Sacred Heart church for 42 years. He served as a volunteer for the Loaves and Fishes ministry to help the poor. He loved all God’s people, especially the poor and the needy.
Visitation will be on Friday, November 24, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at Elmwood Funeral Home – 5750 HWY 277 South, Abilene, TX. Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday November 25, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church – 837 Jeanette Street, Abilene, TX 79602 and will be officiated by Msgr. Robert Bush and concelebrated by Msgr. Van Nguyen – Austin and Very Rev. Santiago Udayar, Vicar General of the Diocese of San Angelo. After the Funeral Mass, there will be a military ceremony before going to his resting place, Elmwood Memorial park. His last words, “ I am going to church today.”
To the Bereaved Family: I did not know Thien Van Bui but, having read his story out of curiosity, I must send my sincerest condolences and a belated "thank you" for his service. He sounds like a father of whom you can all be very proud. As an American child growing up in the 1960's, I saw the Vietnam conflict unfold on our TV screens each night on the news and prayed daily for the safety and survival of all concerned. Again, thank you to your loved one for his service.
Pamela Gilbreth WatkinsBuffalo Gap, TX