Local Obits

Obituary of Chan’deng (Shawny) Xayarath

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Ithaca – Chan’deng (Shawny) Xayarath, 72, of Ithaca, NY, passed away of cancer on November 13, 2022 at her home surrounded by family and loved ones.

She was born in Ubon, Thailand on February 20, 1950 to Moung and Noo Suraksa. When she was 14 years old, her family moved to Laos to be surrounded by the beauty of the endless mountain views. She married her husband Somlith Xayarath of 57 years in 1965. Their children, daughter, Nangtheing, and sons Veng and Thongvane were born in Laos. In 1977, their family left war-torn Laos for Thailand where they sought safety as refugees. Sadly, her daughter, Nangtheing passed away in the refugee camp only weeks after her daughter, Bouavahn was born.

In 1980, her family resettled in Ithaca, NY through the sponsorship of the family of J. Earl Thomas. Here, they rejoined other loved ones from Laos who had also resettled in Ithaca and other parts of Upstate NY. After studying English at a local church, Chan’deng secured a job in housekeeping at Cornell University. She first worked in the College of Human Ecology and then joined the housekeeping staff for the Statler Hotel upon its opening in 1989. Within the Statler Hotel community, Chan’deng was lovingly referred to as Shawny by friends, colleagues, and students. After having worked at Cornell for 26 years, Chan’deng retired in 2008.

Her legacy is survived by her two younger brothers in Ubon, Thailand. She is also survived by her loving husband, Somlith Xayarath, in Ithaca, New York, and their three children, Veng (wife Sara), Thongvane, and Bouavahn. Her grandchildren Isadora (parents Veng and Sara) and Ryan (parent Bouavhn) were the lights of her life. She enjoyed showering them with love, affection, and homemade food. Preceding her in death were her daughter Nangtheing and sister, Khampeng Varipath.

Chan’deng had a beautiful smile and laugh. She would warm up a room as soon as she entered it. She was beloved by all those who had the benefit of spending time with her. She found great joy in gardening, and had an incredible garden that helped to keep her connected to the beauty of the farmland in Laos.

We will miss the joy she brought to our lives and the way that she touched so many over the years. We invite you to join us for a celebration of life on Saturday, November 19, 2021, from 12-3:00 pm at Perkins Funeral Home, 55 West Main Street, Dryden, NY 13053. The reception will be held following the service at 617 Spencer Road, NY 14850. On Sunday at 10:00 am, the traditional Buddhist Ceremony, Thak Bhat, will be held at the house.


Obits are submitted to us by local funeral homes. (Wright-Beard, Riccardi, Perkins, Marathon Memorial Chapel, and K L Sharp Funeral Home)

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