Missionary Mary Pham dies after battle with cancer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)--Van Thi Dao "Mary" Pham, a Southern Baptist missionary to the Philippines, died Dec. 27 in Birmingham, Ala., after a battle with cancer. She was 50.

Pham and her husband, Long, were appointed by the International Mission Board in 1983. She served as a church and home worker with the Professionals 4 Christ team in the Manila metropolitan area.

"Mary was a well-respected woman of God," said missionary colleague Linda Pegram. "Friends knew her as a prayer warrior.

"She loved her Lord, her family and the opportunity to serve on the mission field," Pegram said. "When I think of Mary, I think of vivacity and kindness. The fruit of the Spirit was obvious in her life."

Pham, a native of Vietnam, earned a certificate in preschool education from Vietnam Baptist Theological Seminary in Saigon. She immigrated to the United States in 1975 and earned the associate of arts degree from Portland Community College in Oregon. She married Long Pham in 1980.

Prior to missionary appointment, she had worked as a teacher's aide in El Cajon, Calif., and as a draftsman in Louisville, Ky. She considered Orlando, Fla., her hometown in the United States.

Pham had obtained a degree in theology and was working on a master's degree in clinical counseling when she was diagnosed with cancer in summer 2003. She and her husband, Long, were on stateside assignment and staying in the missionary house of Hunter Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, where they were members.

Pham is survived by her husband; two sons, Benjamin Pham and David Pham; and one daughter, Kristine Pham, all of Birmingham.

(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: MARY PHAM.

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