Trần thị Xuân-An (Spring Peace) was born in Hội An, Viêt Năm, on February 12, 1932. She was raised by Phạm thị Như Khuê. She graduated high school and received an international scholarship to study at Montclair State Teacher’s College in New Jersey, and then received a 4-year degree in biochemistry in just two years.
She returned to Viet Nam to teach English at Bùi Thị Xuân and then Hội Việt-Mỹ (Vietnamese American Association). She married Trần Học Hải in 1964 in Đà Lạt and gave birth to two boys named Liem and Chinh, meaning “integrity and righteousness” to nullify the corruption at that time.
By the time the third child was born in January 1968 (Xuan-Mai, Spring Cherry Blossom) the war was ramping up; they found themselves caught in the middle of a battle which nearly took the life of 11-day-old infant Mai. Xuân-An had to perform CPR to resuscitate her infant from the concussion of the bombs.
Surviving and moving on she started a new career at the Atomic Energy Research (Nguyên Tử Lực Cuộc). In 1971, her fourth child (Xuan-Thao, Spring Grass) was born. After a year, the war was once again at their back door. The young family decided to move further south to Saigon in 1972 where she started another career researching crop yields. That lasted three years until the fateful day of April 30, 1975, when the Communists overtook the country.
She and her husband, Hải Học Trần, with the help of her brother Thành packed their four children and her 64-year-old mother (Bà Ngoại) into an army jeep and headed for Thanh’s awaiting merchant marine boat. They escaped Vietnam the day before it fell to the Communists with just the clothes on their backs.
While floating in the South China Sea they decided that they would head to America. After sending out radio distress calls, it was answered by the Pioneer Commander, a freighter that was anchored nearby to rescue refugees. The family parted ways with her brother and his family. The young family of seven boarded the freighter headed for America. The next day, they found themselves with 10,000 other refugees fleeing the war.
The journey to America took them through Guam (a U.S. territory), Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and eventually to Tujunga, California. She and her husband were able to use their English skills and assisted others with the completion of their paperwork. As always, she took the last place in line so that she could put others’ needs before her own and was able to assist many other families in processing their papers.
With the aid of local churches (Shepherd of The Hills Lutheran, Faith Lutheran Church, Tujunga Methodist Church, and Shadow Hills Presbyterian Church) the refugee family settled in Tujunga, California.
Xuân-An was able to attend CSUN to renew her teaching credentials and in 1977 started teaching again. Her return to education was as an 8th grade science teacher at Mt. Gleason Junior High School and then she moved on to teach 10th & 11th grade biology at Van Nuys High School until she retired in 1996. She also taught ESL at Van Nuys Adult School at night to help other refugees and immigrants learn English. In between teaching high school and adult school, she always found time to attend and cheer on her boys whenever there was a football game even though she didn’t know the rules or how to play the game. She enjoyed gardening and took pride in her many roses, which have been propagated in Chinh and Mai's gardens.
After retirement, she became a doting grandmother to her three grandchildren, Kaitlyn An, Zachary, and Emily Ackerman. She enjoyed her family and loved her sons-in-law, Paul Ackerman and Craig Wade, as if they were her sons. She and Hai Tran were at EVERY event! They came to every soccer game, ballet and piano recital, school play, Christmas concert, and tennis match rain or shine! In 2012, her fourth and youngest granddaughter was added to her garden of blessings. Grace Olivia Wade was at her grandmother's bedside to the end reading her books and tending to her with love and of course, grace! Xuân-An witnessed the wedding of her eldest granddaughter Kaitlyn An to Danny Silva in 2019, and eventually met her great-grandson Tomás M. Silva in 2022 .
Xuân-An, affectionately known as Bà, modeled to her family the sacrificial and unconditional love of a mother and grandmother whose resilience and fortitude they will never forget.
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