Phi Nguyen

Obituary of Phi Ho Nguyen

It is with heavy heart that we announce the death of Phi Ho Nguyen, our beloved brother, uncle, great uncle, godfather and loyal friend. He was born on October 5, 1944 in Ninh Binh, Viet Nam. He departed peacefully at his home in Monterey, CA on March 6, 2023.

Phi Ho graduated from Pacific Grove high school in 1962 and Monterey Peninsula College in 1964. He then attended San Jose State College where he received his B.S. in Industrial Design. After graduation he accepted a position at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach. Phi Ho was always an adventurer and in 1970 he took a gap year to travel and live in Europe. This sojourn included a 1000-kilometer ride on a rusty $5 bicycle from Hamburg to Paris. Later he rode an old moped from Paris, over the Alps, to Rome. His adventures continued when he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, from 1971 to 1973, when he explored parts of East Africa on a motorcycle and sailed Lake Victoria on an Arab dhow that he built himself.

After the Peace Corps Phi Ho received a fellowship to Ohio State University where he obtained his M.S. in Industrial Design. He then practiced his profession at Lockheed in Burbank, CA. After a successful career he retired in 2002 and moved back to Monterey. In this adopted American hometown he immersed himself in community activities including volunteering as a docent at the San Carlos cathedral and at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. He was also an active member of his Vietnamese alma mater, Nguyen Trai high school.

Phi Ho was a gifted painter, exhibiting his watercolor and oil creations of local landscapes in various one-person shows. An avid fisherman, he was invariably successful in landing fish on his sailboat, on his kayak, from the beach or from the bank of Carmel river. He recorded many of his catch using gyotaku, the traditional Japanese art of fish printing. His artistic skills were also evident in his beautiful bonsai collection. As a lifelong learner, he seriously studied Japanese language and culture well into his 60s which enhanced his numerous visits to Japan. In addition to English, Japanese and his native Vietnamese, Phi Ho also mastered survival knowledge of French, Spanish and Swahili. This linguistic skill enriched his adventures to many parts of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. His natural affinity for people enabled him to form long-lasting friendship everywhere, near and far. In addition to his family, his friends and neighbors were a great source of joy and comfort in his later years.

Phi Ho was predeceased by his parents, Anna Mai Nhu Tran and Andrew Hiep Duc Nguyen and by his sister, Bac Hai Nguyen. He is survived by five sisters, Mary Dovan (Santa Rosa), Annette Held (La Jolla), Anne Pho (Cupertino), Thu Hai Tran (Chicago), Hong Hai DuBroff (Carmel) and three brothers, Andy (San Jose), Phil (La Jolla) and Ho (St. Mary’s City, MD). He is also survived by fifteen nephews and nieces, three of whom are his adored godchildren, Minhlann Jackson (Leonardtown, MD), Lynn Tran (Camarillo) and Jason DuBroff (Salt Lake City). He was married to Xuan Lan Tran with whom he maintained amicable relationship until his death.

Phi Ho will be greatly missed by members of his large extended family and by his many lifelong friends.

A funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday March 17 in the chapel at the San Carlos cemetery (792 Fremont St., Monterey 93940 CA)

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made payable to the Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) Foundation (980 Fremont St., Monterey CA 93940) with notation “Nguyen Scholarship” on the memo line.

Alternatively, donations may also be made online at the following link: (again, please remember to “Apply my gift to Nguyen Scholarship”.)

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Phi Nguyen, please visit Tribute Store

Chapel Service

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Friday, March 17, 2023
Santa Rosalia Chapel
792 Fremont St.
Monterey , California, United States

Graveside Service

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Friday, March 17, 2023
San Carlos Cemetery
792 Fremont Street
Monterey, California, United States
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