Mai Thi Doan died on September 10, 2017 after a brief and difficult battle with cancer.
She was born in Vietnam on December 15, 1952, one of 10 children born to Hy Van and Nhung Doan. She met and married Phuong Ngoc Nguyen during the Vietnam War. Following the war, they fled as boat people with their son, Thy. They landed as refugees in Malaysia before they were able to come and settle in America in 1978 with not more than three dollars to their name.
Fate and a strong Vietnamese community brought them to Kansas City, where Mai found work as a seamstress and helped support her family as it grew to include Vince, Joseph, Mary, David and Marian. In 1992, she welcomed Tuyen in and raised him as one of her own. Her experience feeding her own small brood combined with her love for cooking motivated her to open Mekong Restaurant in 1996.
Though the business operated for less than two years, Mai’s passion for feeding the masses persisted. She took every opportunity to share her food with others, including her son’s wedding reception, any of her children’s office events, and every holiday party for her colleagues at WomenSpirit, where she resumed work and remained employed until her diagnosis in October 2016. She took pride in the meals she made for her prayer group. She once even made a tray of her famous egg rolls as a thank you to the employees at Jiffy Lube for changing her oil with great customer service.
Despite numerous compliments from strangers and friends about her food, nothing brought her more joy and satisfaction than sharing meals with her own family. Every bowl of pho poured, every spring roll expertly assembled, was Mai’s way of taking care of her grown children. And with each grandchild - first Sofia, then Nicolas; followed by Walter, Miriam, and baby Roxy - she was even more eager to feed them. Each bowl of rice with soy sauce or plate full of sliced fruit or handful of gummy bears was an expression of her love.
Her memory will live on not only in their hearts but in her recipes.
Mai joins her husband, Phuong Ngọc Nguyễn; mother, Nhung Thí Phạm; her brothers, Diệp Khắc Đoàn, Hiệp Tân Đoàn, Cương Mạnh Đoàn; her beloved companion, Curly in heaven.
Mai is survived by her father Văn Hy Đoàn; her brothers Hùng Mạnh Đoàn, Bính Ngọc Đoàn, Bích Ngọc Đoàn, Vân Khánh Đoàn and sisters, Thơm Thị Hogan, Thửy Thị Thu Đoàn ; her son, Thy, and his wife, Nicole, and their two children, Sofia and Nicolas; her son, Vincent, and his wife Britney; her son, Joseph, and his wife, Brie; her daughter, Mary, and her husband, David, and their two daughters, Miriam and Roxy; her son, David, and his wife, Minh-Tu, and their son, Walter; her daughter, Marian, and her husband, Blake; Tuyen and his wife, Ngan, and their son, Allen; and a number of nieces and nephews and friends she loved as family.
Visitations will be held on Thursday, September 14 and Friday, September 15 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Overland Park Funeral Chapel. A funeral service will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 16 at the Church of the Holy Martyrs at 7801 Paseo Blvd. followed by a burial service at Resurrection Cemetery. The family would like to thank the staff at KU Cancer Center and Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care for their effort and dedication.