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Say Sylavong

December 8, 1919 ~ November 12, 2021 (age 101)


CHAMPAIGN – Say Sylavong of Champaign, Illinois passed away at 10:11pm on Friday, November 12, 2021 at the age of 101.

Say (pronounced “sigh”) was born on December 8, 1919 in Pakse, Laos. She married Pong Sylavong; he preceded her in death. She and her family were sponsored to the United States in 1980 by Lou and Mary Henson. She was a homemaker her entire life and enjoyed spending time with her family, cooking, walking and watching movies.

She was preceded in death by three of her children--her son Bounthane (Hoa) Sylavong; her son Bounthanh (Thongbay) Sylavong; and her daughter Touy Sengsouvanh.

Say is survived by her daughter, Chansy (Lee) Savathphoune of Champaign with whom she lived from 2019-2021 and her son, Bounthanh (Chanh) Syravong of Albany, Oregon. She was lovingly cared for by several granddaughters over the years: Thongsay Khathakhanthaphixay with whom she lived from 2010-2018; Cathy McArthur with whom she lived from 2001-2009; Somphon “Sam” (Roy) Penland; great-granddaughters Metta Khathakhanthaphixay; Alexsia Acosta; Jasmine Davis Khathakhanthaphixay; and Samara McArthur, as well as her great-grandson Jerry Phomrikith Khathakhanthaphixay, all of whom helped provide a rigorous schedule of daily care for her over the past several years.

She is also survived by her other grandchildren: Charlene Syravong (Jonathanh Dang); Chanhsavat Sylavong; Manivanh Syravong (Tom Watson); Kaysone Syravong; Vilath (Paulette) Sylavong; Somphone (Bill) Beasley; Michael (Lisa) Syravong; Khamla Savathphoune; Chansouk Savathphoune; Khamsay (Amit) Nainani; and Linn (Melissa) Syravong.

Additional great-grandchildren: Vincent Dang; Nathan Dang; Jason Allenby; Tom Thidsady Khathakhanthaphixay; Samuel McArthur; Reiley Syravong; Evan Syravong; James Watson; Samson McArthur; Will Beasley; Milo Syravong, Kian Syravong, Cassandra Penland; Sydney Beasley; Avea Syravong, Shaan Nainani; Madison Nainani; Max Savathphoune; and Isaiah Penland.

Visitation will be from 1:00-2:00pm on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at Renner-Wikoff Chapel, followed by a celebration of life and cremation ceremony from 2:00-3:30pm with Buddhist monks from the Wat Lao Buddha Samaggi of Elgin officiating. A livestream of the service will be available on YouTube at:

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the family c/o Renner-Wikoff Chapel, 1900 S. Philo Road, Urbana, IL 61802 or at Donations in excess of funeral expenses will be donated to the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center (ECIRMAC). Condolences may be offered at

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