WASHINGTON, N.H. - Born May 6, 1975, in Battambang, Cambodia, a most precious daughter, mother, wife, sister, aunt and beloved friend, Bon Tha Phoung Beckwith, 38, was killed in a car accident on Nov. 27, 2013. Tha is survived by: her husband, Luke Beckwith, of Washington, and their children, Lucy (16), Annabelle (10) and Terry (5); her mother, Eang Thiv, and stepfather, John Field; older sister, Bon Thouen Poung and brother-in-law and her three children, Jeffrey, Jessica, and Jeremy; younger sister Suki Phoung Reny and brother-in-law, Greg, and their two children; mother-in-law, Caroline Beckwith; sisters-in-law, Bonnie Stonebreaker, Cathy LaFlamme, and Jessica Touponce; and brother-in-law, Tim Beckwith.
During the war years of the Khmer Rouge, Tha was predeceased by her father Phoung Preck Sothea and brother Phoung Preck Sothy. As the war raged, her mother walked her surviving children through the northern Cambodian mountains to reach safety in a Thai refugee camp.
The Jaffrey Refugee Committee brought the family to Jaffrey, where Tha began grade school with no knowledge of English but a love of drawing. She began a lifelong friendship with her art teacher, Julie Simons. In 1994, during Tha's senior year at Conant High School, the two traveled together to Cambodia, where, despite the continued presence of the Khmer Rouge, they successfully found Tha's relatives separated during the war. Later they presented their art from the journey, including Tha's beautiful drawings of Cambodian children, at an exhibit at the Jaffrey Civic Center.
Tha met her future husband, Luke, in Peterborough while they worked together. In 1996 they celebrated their wedding at Julie's house, surrounded by family. Tha and Luke had three wonderful children, who brought Tha so much laughter and joy.
Despite Tha's difficult early years in a war-torn country, she had a peaceful, light spirit and a wonderful sense of humor. She was generous with her love and support with everyone she knew, and will be deeply missed by her heart-broken family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the family's medical bills incurred in the accident may be made to the Tha Phoung Beckwith Fund at TD Bank, or mailed c/o Julie Simons, PO Box 658, Fitzwilliam, NH 03447.
Friends are encouraged to join the family at calling hours at the Jaffrey VFW
, 22 Hawthorne Road. off Route 202 on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m-12 p.m.