Bounthanh and Thongbay Sylavong

Bounthanh and Thongbay Sylavong

CHAMPAIGN – Bounthanh Sylavong, 64, and Thongbay Sylavong, 61, of Champaign, both left this life unexpectedly on Jan. 16, 2013. Although their passing was tragic, we are remotely comforted knowing they departed this world only moments apart; this was symbolic of the inseparable life they led.

Bounthanh was born to Say and Phong Sylavong on Feb. 16, 1948, in Pakse, Laos. Thongbay was born to Beng and Sith Skoolthai on April 14, 1951, in Mukdahan, Thailand. They married in 1967 and their family was sponsored to the United States in 1980 by Lou and Mary Henson. Bounthanh worked at the University of Illinois Department of Physiology and Thongbay worked at Herff-Jones; both were with their respective employers for over 30 years.

Bounthanh is survived by his mother, Say Sylavong of Savoy; his brothers, Bounthanh (Chanh) Syravong of Albany, Ore., and Bounthane (Hoa) Sylavong of Pakse, Laos; and his sister, Chansy (Lee) Savathphoune of Champaign.

Thongbay is survived by seven brothers and five sisters in Thailand. They are also survived by their daughter, Thongsay Khathakhanthaphixay, and son, Chanhsavat Sylavong, both of Streamwood, and son, Vilath (Paulette) Sylavong of Hoffman Estates; and grandchildren, Metta, Jerry, Tom and Alexsia Khathakhanthaphixay.

Bounthanh was preceded in death by his father and sister, Touy Sengsouvanh. Thongbay was preceded in death by her parents.

Bounthanh was a longtime elder in the local Laotian community; he advised and advocated for countless families including employment and housing. He also loved carpentry and helping others with home improvement.

Thongbay was an avid gardener and loved cooking for their many friends and family. Their lives centered on taking care of their loved ones and each other. They will be deeply missed and will remain in our hearts forever.

Visitation will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25. The funeral will be at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by cremation at Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory, Urbana. Condolences may be offered at

Memorial contributions may be made to the family in care of Renner-Wikoff Chapel, 1900 S. Philo Road, IL 61802.