The former prime minister of Cambodia, In Tam, moved to Chandler in the early 1980s, but his heart remained in his homeland, his granddaughter says.
In Tam, 89, died April 1. On Saturday, his family and friends will hold a traditional Cambodian funeral in Chandler. Tamarom In, his granddaughter, said more than 500 people are expected to attend.
In Tam became prime minister in 1973. After the fall of the capital, Phnom Penh, in April 1975 to the Khmer Rouge Communist regime, he became chief of the resistance movement until he was exiled to France in December 1975. The Khmer Rouge had marked him as a traitor, bound for execution. In late 1976, In Tam left France to join his sons in the United States The family later moved to Chandler.
“Even once he got here to the U.S. he was still trying to organize political parties to help the country escape the Khmer Rouge,” she said. “He dedicated his life to Cambodia, to the people of Cambodia. He knew it was wrong to sit back and watch Pol Pot murder over 1.5 million of our people.”
Pol Pot was the leader of the Khmer Rouge.
On Saturday, family and friends will pay tribute to In Tam’s soul, Tamarom In said. A eulogy will be read in Cambodian and then she will read it in English. A Buddhist monk will bless and pray over the body. Family members will pray and ask for forgiveness of any wrongs. Then, a processional will take the casket to its final burial place.
Family members have come from all over, and the service will be recorded and sent to Cambodia. Tamarom In said news of her grandfather’s death is being broadcast all over the southeast Asian country, and the family received condolences from the prince of Cambodia.
Tamarom In said her grandfather’s legacy is one of being proud of his heritage.
The most important lesson he left her with is: “Always be proud of who you are, the name you carry and never be ashamed of your heritage, because all you really have in this world is your name and your word,” she said.
In Tam is survived by his wife, In Tat, one daughter, three sons, five grandsons, 11 granddaughters, seven greatgrandsons and 10
greatgranddaughters. Three other sons preceded In Tam in death; one was executed by the Khmer Rouge.
Memorial services for In Tam are scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at Valley of the Sun Chapel, 10940 E. Chandler Heights Road.