On September 13, 2023, Reverend Mr. Joseph Huynh Van Ngoc of San Jose, California was called home by God at 92 years of age.
Born on January 26, 1931, Joseph spent his early childhood with his parents in his birthplace of Hoai An, Binh Dinh, Viet Nam. From the time he was a young boy until early adulthood, he received his education at St. Joseph Institute de Petit Freres de St. Joseph in Kim Chau, BinhDinh, Viet Nam. After serving as a teacher and a catechist for a year in Ban-Me-Thuot, he spent the next 20 years as a school principal, working in a bank, and in the social and refugee services. Throughout this period, Joseph faithfully served The Lord through his work in The Catholic Charities, Caritas, CARE and within the local parish where he was recognized as Chairman of the Parish Council at Dong Tien, Quy Nhon.
This time of dedicated service in Quy Nhon was interrupted by the Vietnam War during which Joseph and his young family fled their homeland. In May of 1975, the family arrived in Singapore and by God’s grace, eventually established their new home in Decorah, Iowa, USA on October 20, 1975.
Joseph proved a diligent student and after only six months of English language study at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, he began his ministry to the refugee population of Iowa which spanned 25 years. During the first ten years, he faithfully served the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Des Moines assisting in the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees. In the later 15 years, he was a dedicated civil servant within the Department of Human Services (DHS) in the Bureau of Refugee Services (BRS).
On October 4, 1986, Joseph was ordained as a Permanent Deacon and assigned to St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, Iowa. Deacon Huynh was most proud of the great number of refugees who subsequently converted to the Catholic faith, undoubtedly influenced by Joseph’s own living testimony.
After his retirement from the DHS in 1999, Deacon Joseph and his wife moved to San Jose, California to be closer to their adult children and many grandchildren. He was incarnated to San Jose Diocese and assigned to St. Patrick Proto Cathedral (currently Our Lady of La Vang). Here, he spent over 20 years in joyful service to his community. A lifelong devout and steadfast Catholic, Joseph’s legacy remains the countless hearts he has touched and the lives he has influenced throughout the world, especially in Vietnam, Iowa, and California. He is greatly beloved and will be deeply mourned.
Joseph was a devoted husband and loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His family was the source of immeasurable pride and happiness. He relished his role as patriarch of this joyous and affectionate clan. Joseph is survived by his adoring wife, Thu Thi Le, and his loving children, Thu, Mai (Hoa Nguyen), Xuan (Van Pham), Quang (Marie-Anne), Minh (Pamela), and Dung (Matthew Lanzdorf). He is preceded in death by a daughter, Thu, and a son, Khoa (Xuan). He leaves ten grandchildren, Samantha (Alex), Andrew, Nathaniel, Jonathan, Julia, Aidan, Kaitlyn, Sarah, Emily and Kate, and a great-granddaughter, Sophie.
This is what the Lord says:
Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but let him who boasts boast about this:
That he understands and knows me
2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day
While Joseph was a humble man not known to boast, he dedicated the entirety of his life to the understanding and knowing of God. Well done, Joseph Huynh, good and faithful servant. You have fought the good fight. You have finished the race. You have kept the faith. Receive from the Lord your crown of righteousness.
The family will receive mourners, family and friends, on Thursday, September 28, 2023 from 1 – 2 pm PDT at Vietnamese Martyrs Chapel, 685 Singleton Road, San Jose, CA 95111 for viewing and visitation. Masses for the Repose of the Soul and parish prayer sessions to follow from 2 – 7 pm PDT.
Funeral mass will be celebrated by the Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, The Most Reverend Oscar Cantu on Friday, September 29, 2023 at 11 am PDT at St. Maria Goretti Church, 2980 Senter Road, San Jose, CA 95111. Directly following mass, the late Deacon Joseph Huynh Van Ngoc will be interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery