Rush: 9/23/2014 at age 71 years. Vienchaleun Kettavong was born on 6/16/1943 in Nong Nam Chanh, Laos to Kuea and Chantah. He is survived by his spouse Saysamone Kettavong of Rush, children; Oi, Pepsy, Lae (Romona), Nok (Vy), Awe and Guy (Tiffany). Grandchildren; Vy, Syanne, Jubei, Aianna, Olivia, Reyna, Nyla, and with twins on the way. Siblings; Kolakhan and Souly, nieces & nephews, cousins, extended family, and friends.
Vienchaleun Kettavong was the 5th of seven children. Early on he realized he wanted to pursue a career in the military and decided to join the army. In the midst of the Vietnam Conflict, Mr. Kettavong enlisted in the Lao Republic Army in 1961. Within three years he had advanced to the rank of first lieutenant and became the commander of Laotian battalion. Between 1963-1969 he was sent to the front line of Namback. His heroic leadership earned him honorary metals. Towards the end of the conflict, Mr. Kettavong was sent to the army head quarters in Vientiane, where he was promoted to Chief of Bureau of Foreign Students. His role at that post included the selection of candidates for the elite military training in the U.S. During the Communist regime of the mid 1970’s, Mr. Kettavong was held in a concentration camp for over six years due to his anti-Communist views.
Early in his military career, while attending a coed basketball game, a young nursing student, Saysamone Chantavasouk – his future wife and the mother of his six children, caught his eyes. In 1980, he was sentenced to death for his continuous anti-communist views. In leniency, Mr. Kettavong was granted furlough to say goodbye to his family. Rather than returning to camp, he and his family escaped Laos for Nongkhai, Thailand, where they were placed in a refugee camp for two years.
In March of 1982, the family arrived in Rochester, New York, with five dollars in hand. The emigration was possible solely through the efforts of his youngest brother, Souly, and the sponsorship of the Lakeville United Church of Christ. To provide for his family he worked multiple jobs including maintenance, custodial, and painting, knowing to be successful in life, education was the key. When a custodial position opened up at Rochester Institute of Technology, he immediately landed the position knowing the benefits of subsidized tuition for his children far outweighed the minimum pay. After putting his 6 kids through college, he eventually retired as a shipping and receiving clerk after 28 years of service at R.I.T. During his retirement years, apart from spending time with his family, he found tranquility and great pleasure in hunting in the woods. He was at peace. On his final day, Mr. Kettavong was at his home away from home.
Friends may call on Saturday, September 27th, from 3-8pm at the Kevin W. Dougherty Funeral Home Inc., 21 Big Tree Street, Rte 15&20A, Livonia. Services will be held at the funeral home on Sunday, September 28th, from 11:30am-5pm. To send a condolence and for further information please visit: