Ko Der

November 1, 1948 ~ March 23, 2018 (age 69)
Ko Der, age 69, of Willmar, died at his home in Willmar on Friday, March 23.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, at Grace Baptist Church in Willmar. Interment will be at Fairview Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church on Tuesday.

He is survived by his wife, Lay Shwe; eight children, Ka Htoo, Ko Wan (and Pawnu Nay), Lay Der (and Annic Thay), Ko Lay, Pa Doe Dah, Paw Tamla Htoo (and Cha Ker), Paw Ta Gay (and Plow Htoo) and Sell Ma Paw (and Htoo Gay); and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, other relatives and friends.

Ko Der was born on November 1, 1948 in Ler Doh district, Daw Doh Keen Village. He was the second child of Poe Eh and Po Moe. He had 2 brothers and 2 sisters. His dad passed away when he was five years old and his mom passed away when he was 12 years old. Because his older sister was disabled, he had to support and take care of all his siblings. When he was old enough, he became a village leader for five years and village security for seven years.

He was once captured by Burmese soldiers and got all of his belongings taken. He was brutally beaten and was almost killed. He was able to escape and came back to his village by the help of a porter.

In April 25, 1978, he married Lay Shwe and had eight children, three daughters and five sons. He also had seven grandchildren.
When he worked as village security, his job was to transport food from village to village. As he traveled, he stepped on a land mine which caused him to lose his left leg. No one knew about the accident and he stayed in the jungle for the whole night. The following day, people went out to look for him and he was rescued. Because there was no medical care in his village, he was sent to a different village.

After he was completely healed, he became a nurse in his village for 20 years. On March 1999, he and his family escaped to Thailand Refugee Camp because the Burmese military came to his village and burned it down. He and his family stayed in Thailand Refugee camp for 14 years. On May 7, 2013, he decided to leave the camp and came to America. He and his family resettled in St. Paul Minnesota. Not many months after his resettlement in St Paul, he moved to Willmar. In 2013, he went to see his doctor for a checkup. He received news that he had a liver cancer and started the treatment right away. His cancer got worse and he was hospitalized for two weeks starting from January 6, 2018. The doctor said there was no more hope for him so he returned home with hospice care. On the morning of March 23, 2018 at 6:03am, he took his last breath and passed away.

Cemetery Details

Fairview Cemetery
Gorton Avenue NW
Willmar, MN, 56201


MAR 27. 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM

Grace Baptist Church

4307 18th Street NE

Willmar, MN, US, 56201

Funeral Service

MAR 27. 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

Grace Baptist Church

4307 18th Street NE

Willmar, MN, US, 56201

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