Theresa Dung Thi Nguyen

July 5, 1952 ~ September 8, 2023 (age 71) 71 Years Old
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Theresa Dung Thi Nguyen (July 5, 1952 - September 8, 2023)

On Friday, September 8th, 2023, Theresa Dung Thi Nguyen, loving wife and mother of four children, passed away at the age of 71 in her home in Beltsville, Maryland.

Dung Thi Nguyen was born on July 5th,1952 in Hai Duong, Vietnam, just shy of 50 miles outside of Hanoi. She was the fourth born out of eleven children to her father Sung Van Tran and mother Tam Thi Co. At her baptism, Dung was given the saint name Theresa after the Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Saint of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus et de la Sainte-Face), also known as the Little Flower of Jesus, or in French, la petite Thérèse. In 1954, when she was just two years old, she and her family fled to Saigon, South Vietnam (now known as Ho Chi Minh City), to seek freedom from the North Vietnamese Communist Regime.

Dung grew up in Saigon, helping her parents run the family business at an airfield, while also helping to care for her siblings. As a teenager, she took special interest in cooking and sewing. She would love to browse pop and fashion magazines and replicate the era's most fashionable outfits for herself, her friends, and all of her sisters. She met her husband, Dung Van Nguyen, in 1976 when she was 24 years old. He was a South Vietnamese army lieutenant of half-French and half-Vietnamese descent, and they would marry a year later at Thanh Minh Catholic Church in Phu Nhuan, an urban district of Saigon. To escape the hardships of the post-Vietnam war restructuring by the Northern Communist government, they sought asylum through her husband's French descent and emigrated on their own as a newlywed couple from Vietnam to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône in Southern France on July 14, 1977. They would have daughter Diem T. Nguyen in 1978, son Christian D. Nguyen in 1982, and daughter Christine N. Nguyen in 1985.  

In June of 1989, they found the desire to move closer to family in the United States following a brief visit for the funeral of Dung's eldest sister, Tina Thu Thi Green (dec. 6/11/1989). Just a few short months after returning to France, in December of 1989, Dung and her family immigrated to the United States and settled in Beltsville, Maryland. In 1992, Dung's youngest daughter, Vanessa N. Nguyen was born.

After immigrating to the United States, Dung quickly put her sewing experience to use by working with her younger sister Hanh Rachefsky's interior design company, Danah Distributors. She skillfully created elegant and precise custom window furnishings and draperies, contributing to many high end clients such as multiple Washington Redskins players' homes, Joe Theismann's restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida, the Japanese embassy, the Russian embassy, the Swiss embassy, the Department of Labor, the Department of Treasury, the Capitol Building, the Inauguration Ballroom backdrops for the inaugurations of President George H.W. Bush, twice for President Bill Clinton, twice for President George W. Bush, and twice for President Barack Obama. 

After her many years of contributions and accomplishments at Danah Distributors, Dung retired and enjoyed spending her time gardening, traveling, and visiting friends and family, and finding good deals while shopping (especially at Costco). But above her passion for sewing and even shopping, she always loved spending her time cooking the most.

Cooking came as second nature to Dung and was always singing and humming at the stove while preparing nightly family dinners or preparing for family gatherings. She was renowned for being the best cook in her large family and would prepare multiple dishes for all of the family celebrations and holidays. Among her many dishes, everyone always looked forward to having her signature Vietnamese- style stuffed chickens, which she made sure to bring multiple of so there was enough to go around. Her food was made with love and she made sure that everyone had their plates and bellies full. 

Dung's strong natural maternal instincts developed while growing up caring for her younger siblings have been felt throughout many generations. She will always be remembered for her desire to nurture those around her and will be greatly missed. Her memory will live on in the hearts of all those who love her.

Dung was preceded in death by her father Sung Van Tran (1/30/1986), sister Tina Thu Thi Green (6/11/1989), mother Tam Thi Co (10/1/1999), brother Chi Van Tran (2/28/2018).

She is survived by her husband Dung Van Nguyen, daughter Diem T. Nguyen, son Christian D. Nguyen with grandson Jackson V. Nguyen, daughter Christine N. Nguyen and husband Mark McDougall with granddaughter Daisy H. McDougall , daughter Vanessa N. Nguyen and husband Chan Lee. Of her siblings, she is survived by her sister Theresa Hai Pham and husband Huan Pham, sister Hanh T. Rachefsky, sister Hong T. Tran and husband Tony Cheng, sister Kim T. Do and husband Andrew Do, brother Hoang M. Tran and wife Loan Vo, sister Nga Tuyet T. Tran and husband Linh Tran, sister Thuy Anh T. Tran and husband Hai Tran, and brother Minh H. Tran. Dung is also survived by her many nieces and nephews, who each have their own personal and distinctive memories of her.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 17th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home - 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD 20705  

Mass will be held on Monday, September 18th at 10:00 a.m. at Saint Peter's Parish Catholic Church - 2900 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney, MD 20832

Funeral procession/cortege and Rite of Committal after Mass at Gate of Heaven Cemetery - 13801 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20906

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Theresa Dung Thi Nguyen, please visit our floral store.


September 17, 2023

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Borgwardt Funeral Home
4400 Powder Mill Rd
Beltsville, MD 20705

Mass of Christian Burial
September 18, 2023

10:00 AM
St. Peter's atholic Church
2900 Olney Sandy Spring Road
Olney, Maryland, MD 20832

Interment following funeral service

Gate of Heaven Cemetery
13801 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland 20906

Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
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In Loving Memory Of

Theresa Dung Thi Nguyen

July 5, 1952-September 8, 2023

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Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   

Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event


In Loving Memory Of

Theresa Dung Thi Nguyen

July 5, 1952-September 8, 2023

Look inside to read what others have shared

Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   


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