Thawat Harnpukdipatima of Norwood, died peacefully at his home on Friday, December 10th. He was 96. Born Thawat Lee in Nakhon Sawan, Thailand on January 1st, 1925, he was the youngest of four children born to a Chinese father and Lao/Thai mother. In 1945 he eloped with Yupadee Ngow. Going against family tradition, the two dropped the Chinese surname 'Lee' and embraced the Thai name 'Harnpukdipatima' as their family name. Thawat and Yupadee eventually opened a tailor shop in the small village of Takhli, where they raised their family.
In 1978, Thawat and Yupadee moved to Massachusetts, following their daughters, where ultimately all of their children would plant roots. Despite having only completed the 4th grade, Thawat’s determination and charming personality led to a successful life in America. He had several careers including insurance agent for AIA at which he was awarded for his work. Thawat was most known for being a highly skilled tailor. He constructed luxury suits for companies such as Anderson Little and Brooks Brothers before opening his own tailor business in Franklin. Thawat, also known as Mr. H, loved Japanese food, healthy living, and staying connected to friends and current events in Thailand. He will be deeply missed by all.
He is predeceased by his wife Yupadee in 2013 and his son Bundit in 2005.
He is survived by his loving children Saroch Harnpukdipatima, Penchan Villemaire, Vichai Harnpukdipatima, Somnuk Pulling and their spouses, his grandchildren Michelle Villemaire, May Toomey, and their spouses, Nelson Pulling, Nigel Pulling, and Marisa Harnpukdipatima as well as his great-grandchildren, Pearl Abrahams, Vivi Abrahams, Liam Toomey, Brandon Toomey and beloved extended family.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend a funeral service that will be held in the Mount Auburn Cemetery’s Chapel, 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at 10:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers, please remember Thawat by performing acts of kindness to those less fortunate or those who need help.
Arrangements by James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, Walpole.
IN MEMORY OF THAWAT HARNPAKDIPATIMA
In a land far away, but well known as Thailand
A boy was born in a family of a Chinese clan.
In his hometown in north of the Central Plain
Takli was nice with rolling, prosperous terrain.
His dad migrated from China, to seek a better life
In this new country to avoid hardship and strife.
He grew up a normal Thai boy, in his simple fold,
With love and care of his parents’ hold.
The trait that taught his love for his family
Stayed with him in his future destiny
That boy was Thawat, and when he came of age
He chose to be a tailor, but not to work for wage
With only primary schooling, it’s best to own his shop
To be his own boss, and manage his own ‘crop’
He then married this steady and resolute woman
With Yupadee by his side, they fulfilled their plan
To raise a good family for five lovely kids
To be good boys and girls with great wits
They were not rich but had comfortable lifestyle
Nothing else mattered but welfare of each child
Then came a war in the late 60s, nay, it wasn’t a Thai war
But America came to fight Vietnam at Thailand’s door
How cruel and ugly this war was, but good thing can happen
An American soldier fell in love with one of Thawat’s children
They had her parents’ broad-minded blessings
They married and that was the start of many good things
They moved back to America and invited her clan to come along
How could this be possible with so many in their throng?
But Thawat was determined, to face tough challenge
Despite his little education, he had his enormous inner strength
A star had shone brightly on this lucky immigre
As many kind Americans helped them find their ways
To settle in New England, all with tough, hard jobs
To fight for a new life, you have to work until you drop
The efforts paid off and a small house was bought
Everyone had to cram in but ‘this better than naught
Their children had done well, and they prospered
Each had good job and began to change over
Huge credit was due to Thawat and of course his dear wife
To move from struggling to promising life
A life of a man imbued with sweat and toil
Is rewarded by successes all without recoil
He lived a good life fully alert of world affairs
With his health as his wealth we all can share
Alas! a good man is gone when years should wait
He could enjoy more years before going to the gate
But, then, we pause, now that he is gone
We should reflect on his good deeds in our mourn
Keep him in our hearts as long as we live
To hold him high up for what he had achieved.
14 December 2021