As a single mother, my mom was a trailblazer in the community. In 1974, she opened the first International Market in Las Vegas. At it’s height, she operated a 5000 square foot market by the Stratosphere with a second location in North Las Vegas. I have fond memories of running up and down the aisles with my brother and helping bag groceries as a child. Mom put in long hours 7 days a week to provide for our family which meant I spent most of my time at home with my grandmother.

Kiew Ho was an amazing woman in her own right. Born in China in 1919, she escaped communism by literally walking from China to Thailand and planting roots. She gave birth to 10 children in poverty, and although 1 died as a child, the rest were able to start new lives as immigrants here in Las Vegas. She immigrated to Las Vegas with my grandfather in 1975. Grandma spoke 2 languages but could not read or write. Only able to sign her name, she was still one of the sharpest people I knew. She was the go-to babysitter for the Meevasin clan and even though she lived at our house, she had a hand in raising all 17 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Grandma was the glue that held our entire family together. Every year, members of our family would come back to Las Vegas to celebrate her birthday and as she inched closer and closer to the 100 year mark, every celebration became more and more meaningful.

This past Friday, after a long day at work, I got the dreaded call to go to my mom’s house. Recently grandma had been battling pneumonia which lead to her being diagnosed with a small inoperable tear in her aorta. For the past 2 weeks she had been receiving home hospice care. When we got to the house, the family was all gathered around her bed. Her pulse was weak and she was unresponsive. We all said our final goodbyes and grandma quietly passed away shortly after.

Though I am devastated, I am thankful that I was lucky enough to have known her and that my children got to know her as well. She leaves behind years of wonderful memories and experiences that can never be taken away. She lived 97 years full of family and happiness, and after 20 years apart, she is finally reunited with my grandfather.

Thank you grandma for everything. You will be missed but never forgotten. Your legacy lives on through us and we will make you proud. We love you very much.