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Su Thi Vu

March 23, 2024

Su Vu Obituary

Su Thi Vu, affectionately known as “Mrs. Su” by all who knew and loved her, passed away peacefully in her sleep while attended faithfully by her beloved daughter, Kieu.  Mrs. Su was 87 years old and a resident of Rochester, Minnesota for the past 49 years of her life.

Mrs. Su was born in 1937 in Nam Dinh province in northern Vietnam.  She moved south to Saigon in 1955 at  age 18 and found employment as a nanny for the family of the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Saigon. During that time she met her husband Mai Que Lo, a police officer in Saigon.  In 1966 they were blessed with their only child Kieu.  Tragically, her husband lost his life in the line of duty two years later, in 1968. Newly widowed and solely responsible for her 2-year-old daughter, Mrs. Su sought new employment and accepted a position as household manager and cook for Mr. Robert (Bob) Jones, who was stationed at the US embassy in Saigon, where he worked as a liaison between the US Army and the State Department. A petite four feet 10 inches, with little formal education, she was nevertheless recognized as a highly intelligent and perceptive woman with a tireless work ethic, capable of organizing a dinner for 4 or 20 guests at short notice from the embassy.  Unflappable, direct, with an engaging sense of humor she quickly became admired and respected in the diplomatic community.  She worked for Mr. Jones for nine years until Saigon’s fall in the Vietnam war in 1975, when Mr. Jones was ordered to return to the United States.  He offered to evacuate Su and Kieu. Without hesitation, Mrs. Su accepted this life changing plan realizing a move to the United States offered the best chance for her daughter’s future success.  Together they boarded one of the last evacuation flights out of Saigon. 

Mrs. Su and her daughter ultimately settled in Rochester, Minnesota, Mr. Jones’ hometown in 1975. She often worked multiple jobs at once to support her family and save for her daughter’s university education.  She was especially proud of her job in the kitchen at the Mayo Clinic’s Methodist Hospital where she worked for many years.  As one of the first of Rochester’s Vietnamese immigrants to settle here and with her strong alliance with Bob Jones,  Mrs. Su felt a strong commitment  to helping later arrivals settle as smoothly as possible. She believed that “it is better to have people come to you than run away from you”.  She lived that motto in her daily life by offering advice, providing transportation, finding jobs, cooking meals, and helping families who found themselves in distress. She was praised throughout Rochester and her Vietnamese community for her cooking skills. Her egg rolls and fried rice were legendary, taking center stage at many weddings, holiday celebrations and charity events. A phone call from Mrs. Su to come pick up freshly made egg rolls was a treasured invitation never to be declined. Her community work was performed without any expectation of reward or public praise.  She was proud but very private about all of the contributions she made to the community  during her life in Rochester. Often described as a force of nature, she was devout in faith, loyal in friendship and service, humble and loving in spirit.  She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Mrs. Su is survived by her daughter Kieu Oanh Vu (John McInnis).  The endearing close relationships she developed with the family of Bob Jones included Sharon (Jones) and Frank Stewart, Roger and Cheryl Jones, and many dear friends.  She was preceded in death by her husband Mai and her long-time friend Bob Jones.  The family would like to thank the many caregivers involved in tending to Mrs. Su during these last weeks of her life, including Dr. Jeremy Solberg, Dr. John Bachman, Dr. Maria Bachman, Dr. Richard Weinshilboum, Dr. Rebecca Weinshilboum, Mini Collette, her kind and loving nursing attendant, and Phi Cao, whose delicious food sustained the family at such a difficult time. In her own quiet voice, Mrs. Su would put her hands together in prayer and say “Thank You, Cam On”, to all who have loved her and been with her in this life.

No services or visitations are planned at this time. A  Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, with Monsignor Gerald Mahon officiating.  A time of visitation for family and friends will take place 1 hr. prior to the services at St. John's. Burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery in Wabasha, MN.  Donations may be made to the charity of choice in honor of Mrs. Su.   Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray Funeral Home in Stewartville. Condolences and memories of Mrs. Su are welcome at www.griffin-gray.com

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