Dok Lao was born in a small village in Takeo Province, Cambodia in the year of the Dragon. She married our father, Kem San (deceased), from a neighboring village and their journey together began. Married to Kem San, her life would take her from the rice fields of Takeo Province to the cities of Phnom Penh, Battambang, Paris, New Orleans, and Washington D.C.
She had an abundance of love and generosity for extended family, friends, and strangers. She loved to cook and prepared beautiful dishes with an elegance that sustained her children and loved ones. Though she had no formal education, her entrepreneurial spirit and innate cooking talent gave her the vision to embark on multiple restaurant and catering ventures, both in Paris and New Orleans. She connected with people thru food and her creativity with traditional Khmer dishes gave her unmatched reputation and admiration and made a profound impact on the people and community honored to have known her throughout her life.
Whether joyous moments with her grandchildren or great-grandchildren playing card games like “SeeKoo”, or moments of suffering caused by pain and loss, she had resolved, loved life, and chose to focus on courage instead of tragedy. She had inner strength, mental stubbornness, and physical stamina to adjust to her circumstances including the lasting tragedy of losing her children and husband; and uprooting from her native country to France in 1973 and again in 1980 to the United States. She was resilient and could survive anywhere.
Her profound will to live carried her in the final years of her life. She was surrounded by care and love as she transitioned to her next journey. She is among the angels now and we will carry her in our hearts forever.
She is survived by 8 children: Sethy; Lavie and Bunchhay; Vuthy and Heng; Suntaro and Neang; Chanvanny and Fee; Bruno and Leemei; Ravie and Rithy.
12 grandchildren: Srei, Vissakha, Sokhom, Laura, Khema, Kevin, Stephen, Lou, Kristi, Karen, Michelle, and Andrew
7 great-grandchildren: Rico, Pierce, Noemie, Chloe, Leonel, James, and Thida-Lou.
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