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Srey Ny (Yey Ny), age 77, passed away on November 10, 2023, at the University Hospital after losing her battle with heart and kidney disease.
From the stories she told her grand-daughter Gessee, she was from the village of Battambang, Cambodia. She was raised in a household with 1 older sister who was disabled, and 3 younger sisters. As a child, she enjoyed playing Lane Mak (hopscotch). Around age 10, she quit school because she hated getting her hand slapped for not remembering the Khmer alphabet, so instead educated herself in basic home skills, such as, cooking, cleaning, sewing, and gardening. During her life in Cambodia, she enjoyed making Cambodian dessert, especially Num Ansom. She also loved making Thuk Kreung w/ fish. She also spent most of her days working in the rice fields.
When the Khmer Rouge took over and the Cambodian Genocide began, she met a Cambodian Soldier, Srey Kosal (Tha Kosal) who later became her husband. They were sponsored by a family in Missouri who brought them to Kirksville in the early 1980s.
In America, she landed her first job as a janitor. After her husband discovered a Cambodian community was developing in Columbia, they moved. She found work as a housekeeper at the Days Inn off I-70 Drive SW. A few years later, she quit housekeeping to work at Weaver Manufacturing. In the 90s she studied and became a nationalized citizen of the United States.
Yey Ny and Tha Kosal had 2 boys of their own in Cambodia. Sadly, due to malnourishment caused by the war, one died at age 5 months and the other died at age 6 months.
Yey Ny and Tha Kosal enjoyed the presence of children and became one of Columbia’s Cambodian neighborhood babysitters. They both loved the children like family and welcomed the community to join them as they host parties where they played Cambodian card and dice games, as well as taking shots of whiskey.
Her life was enriched by friends and family. Her passion was making food for her friends, sewing sarongs, tending to her garden, and fishing. As she became sicker, she simply enjoyed sitting and watching her great-grandchildren, Oliver and Wendell play. Although English was not a strength, she still enjoyed being around her grand-daughter’s husband’s family and visiting Gessee’s work. She cherished every moment she had with them, and loved them all!
When Tha Kosal passed away, Gessee made a promise to take care of Yey Ny and she did just that, plus more. Yey Ny taught Gessee the patience, love, and the selfless duties that comes with taking care of someone elderly. Gessee provided and gave the best life for her until the end. Yey Ny entrusted Gessee with everything she had. No matter where Gessee went, she wanted to be with her because she was home. She consistently reminded Gessee, “don’t forget me.” Yey Ny will never be forgotten. “I promise, Yey. I will never forget you!”
Yey Ny is survived by the grandchildren she babysat in the order of age: Naret Luos, his two children, Julian and Sophia; Rasmey Luos, his wife Edith; Gessee Steck, her husband Travis, their sons Oliver and
Wendell; Richey Sar, his wife Marie, their daughters Avanni and Azalee; Udine Sar, her boyfriend Jovani, their children Mia and Jiro; Sarun Chan, Chanthrea Chan, and Lilly Chan.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Srey Kosal, who died in 2018 and 2 sons.
She will be remembered for her love of wanting to be around those she loved. She will also be remembered for how she smoked a pack of cigarettes with not a care in the world and that she prefers to suck on chicken bone than eating the chicken itself. She also found humor in sneaking behind people because her steps were so light. She was a “Ninja,” as one of her friends, Xiomara would agree. No matter what, she will always be Yey Ny, and will truly be missed and never forgotten.
Family and friends of all religious background are invited to attend the 7-day Post Death Ceremony/Celebration of Life on Saturday, November 18th, 2023, at 3300 Milan Drive; Columbia, MO 65202. The ceremony and monk chant will begin at 10:30am. Family will accept visitation any time that day.
No formal funeral service is scheduled. A private cremation viewing will be for family members only.
Flowers and condolences can be sent to 3300 Milan Drive; Columbia, MO 65202.