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. Funeral services will be at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by cremation at Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory, Urbana.

Memorial contributions may be made to the family c/o Renner-Wikoff Chapel, 1900 S. Philo Road, Urbana, IL 61802.

Condolences may be offered at

Cty wrote on January 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I had the privileged of working with Thongbay everyday for 7 years at Herff Jones. She was the sweetest and kindest person anyone can ever have in their lives. I will never forget when she always brought plants from her garden and share it with everyone at work. I will truly miss her with all my heart. My deepest sympathy to the Sylavong family.

Chanra Ty

wilknows wrote on January 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I'm very sorry for your lost. The passing of both parents at once must be tragic for the children.

A few years ago, a bunch of us went down to Champaign for a canoe trip. That evening, Mr. and Mrs. Sylavong invited us over for pho. I loved their set-up for cooking such a big pot. I appreciate their hospitality.

Vi and Chans, you were brought up well. I'm sure your parents were proud to have accomplished the task.

With deepest regards,

purplewolf63 wrote on January 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Although I did not know the recently departed couple,I seen their obituary & was touched.It sounds like they had a wonderful life despite being cut short way too soon.They sounded like lovely,respected people.My condolences to their family.God Bless