Em Thi Mulloy passed on November 8, 2023, in Chandler, AZ. She was 95 years old. She is survived by her daughter, Loann Nguyen, and her son, Keoki (George) Mulloy and his husband Jim Skiotes.
Em first moved to Chandler in 1983 and divided her time the past 10 years between Chandler and Orange County, California. Em was married to Norman Mulloy who was a United States Veteran serving in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Em and Norman met during the Vietnam war and were married and remained married until Norman passed away in 2008.
The following is a brief story of Em, told by her youngest son, Keoki.
Em was born in 1928 in Hanoi, Vietnam. By 1940 Em and her family escaped North Vietnam to avoid living under communism. That journey was made on foot, approximately 1100 miles, almost the distance from Seattle to Los Angeles! The terrain is not flat, it is mountainous and also densely populated with vegetation and tall trees so it was not an easy journey. Through the hardship of that journey she became displaced from her family and became on her own by age 13! She made it to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) alone and broke so she sought refuge at a Buddhist temple. They took her in and taught her their religion.
She worked in Saigon and went on with her life like most of us would. She married, had children, worked, etc. By the early 60s the conflict between the north and south grew more intense that the threat of South Vietnam becoming communist was beginning to look like a reality. She had worked so hard to escape communism yet it was threatening to captivate her again.
She knew the only way to ever be free was to escape Vietnam for the United States because the United States is a powerful country that will never be communist. The only pathway she knew to get to the states was to have an American soldier get her pregnant and have him rescue her by bringing her to the United States with him. That was how her son Keoki came to be. Norman Mulloy brought all of us to the United States in March of 1971 and we all embarked on a new life in this country.
This woman Keoki calls his mother made many sacrifices and endured many struggles, more than most people will ever experience in their lifetime. Regardless of what she experienced she has maintained a positive outlook and has managed to live a long and fulfilling life in this country, starting at age 43!