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October 5, 1940 to October 9, 2021

Dr. Sovan Tun was born on October 5, 1940, in the village of Anlong Tradak, Subdistrict Prek Kporp, District Sangker, Province Battambang, Cambodia.


He was the son of Mr. Yan Tun and Mrs. Ham Muth Paduma, both deceased. He was an only son and has 3 younger sisters: Mrs. Neary Tun, Mrs. Yun Tun, and Mrs. Sokon Tun. He married Mrs. Yok-Bean Ngor in 1967 and they had 3 children: Ms. Sophally Tun, Dr. Sovanrith Tun, and Mr. Larry Tun. He has 4 grandchildren: Sabina McCormick, Calix McCormick, Jason Tun, and Justin Tun.


As a boy, Dr. Sovan Tun’s education began at Vatt Keo, and he then went on to a primary school in Battambang Ville. He skipped grades and advanced to the secondary school, Lycée Monivong, where he excelled and received his diploma early. Without any higher level of education available, he moved to the capital of Phnom Penh, where he received a complete scholarship from French secondary school Lycée Descartes. Upon graduation, he was awarded both a French and a Khmer Baccalaureate in 1962. He would go on to receive a scholarship from the U.S. government to study abroad in the United States.


After receiving a bachelor’s degree, Dr. Sovan Tun returned to Cambodia in 1966 and was hired by the Ministry of Agriculture. While working there, he served as an instructor at Prek Leap Agriculture School, a teacher at the Khmer-English High School, and a professor at the University Phnom Penh and the University of Agriculture. He attended the law school, Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Economiques and obtained his Licence-en-Droit, French law degree in 1971. He was promoted to Director of Planning in the Ministry of Agriculture with oversight of budget, foreign aid, and import/export of agricultural products. He was later appointed as a member of the National Economic Advisory Council of President Lon Nol of the Khmer Republic.


With the war in Cambodia escalating, Dr. Tun moved to the United States in 1972 through a fellowship awarded to him by the United Nations. With his wife, he raised his family, while also continuing his graduate studies and an assistantship at the University of Tennessee and running the iconic Andrew Johnson Hotel in Knoxville as its general manager. He received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1977.


Upon completion of his doctorate, Dr. Sovan Tun went to work at the American Embassy in Tunisia for 2 years. He returned to the United States and made many short-term consulting trips to offer technical assistance to French-speaking African countries through the US Agency for International Development. Dr. Tun was later employed by the Federal government at the Department of Agriculture, the US Mint, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).


Dr. Sovan Tun also devoted decades of his life to public service, and he was most known for his efforts to elevate, support and defend the interests of Cambodians and Buddhists within his local communities. He served for more than 20 years as President of the Cambodian Buddhist Society, Inc. at the Cambodian Buddhist Temple in Silver Spring. Prior to that, he served ten years as General Secretary. At the time of his death, he was President Emeritus, awarded the title in 2018. Throughout this time, he taught lessons of Buddhism to the Cambodian youth at the Sunday School there. He was appointed as a Buddhist representative in a Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue on Suffering, Liberation, and Fraternity at the Vatican in 2015, where he had the honor to personally meet Pope Francis.


His other leadership roles in Buddhist organizations included:

  • Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of International Buddhist Association of America (IBAA)

  • Vice President of the Washington DC Buddhist Network (WBN)

  • Co-Founder and Advisor to the International Buddhist Committee of the DC Area (IBCDC)

  • Buddhist Representative of Spiritual Care at Washington Adventist Hospital

  • Master of Ceremony of International Visakha Festivals at several temples, such as Wat Thai, Wat Lao, Tibet Temple, Vietnamese temples, etc.


His involvement extended to other civic and non-profit organizations, namely:

  • Longest serving member of Maryland Governor's Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs since 1998

  • Asian Pacific Advisory Group for Maryland’s Montgomery County Executive since 1998

  • Board of Directors of Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington (IFC)

  • Steering Committee of the Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI)

  • Board of Director of Global Peace Services USA (GPS)

  • Board of Trustees of CaringMatters

  • Board of Director of Immigrant Empowerment Council (IEC)

  • Leadership Montgomery Class of 2005


Sovan Tun was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother and uncle. To many more people even, he was a friend, colleague, mentor, role model and much more. He is gone but will never be forgotten by all whose lives he touched. Although our hearts are shattered, we also cherish and rejoice in the time he spent warming the World with his bright spirit.


Thursday, October 14

Cambodian Buddhist Temple
13800 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20904

6:00 pm

Cambodian Buddhist Ceremony, Dedication of Merit

Friday, October 15

Cambodian Buddhist Temple
13800 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20904

9:00 am

Cambodian Buddhist Ceremony, Seventh Day Memorial

1:00 pm


3:00 pm

Memorial Service/Eulogies

(held in English)

6:00 pm

Cambodian Buddhist Ceremony

Saturday, October 16

Cambodian Buddhist Temple
13800 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20904

8:00 am

Cambodian Buddhist

Morning Ceremony

9:30 am

Funerary Procession to

Funeral Home

March Life Tribute Center
7601 Sandy Spring Road
Laurel, MD 20707

11:00 am

Viewing, Biography, Eulogies, Buddhist Service/Last Rites, Flower Offering

1:00 pm


Flowers and/or donations in the memory of Dr. Sovan Tun may be sent to the Cambodian Buddhist Temple, 13800 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20904


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