Thein Wah

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Thein Wah

Thein Wah was a San Antonio Texas, activist.

He died peacefully just after sunset on the summer solstice, June 21, 2011, after a long illness. Edith, his wife of 59 years, was at his side. Dr. Wah was born in 1919 in Magwe, Burma. He was educated at the University of Rangoon, the University of Utah, Harvard University, and the University of Illinois. In 1952, he married Edith Hvalgren of Prophetstown, Illinois. He moved to San Antonio with his young family in 1957 to take a research position at Southwest Research Institute. From 1971 to 1984, he served as Professor of Engineering at Texas A & M Kingsville, where he taught and continued his research. During his long career, he authored over fifty original papers and two books in the field of civil engineering.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sister Dr. S. Padmavati and brother S.K. Moorthy of India; his children Tara, Anita, and David; their spouses Paige Harbaugh, Alan Fishman, and Gabrielle Rieckhof; granddaughter Joia Fishman; nephews Ranjit Mani, Inderjeet Mani, and Ravi Moorthy; and niece Chitra Moorthy. [1]


During the 1950s and 60s, he was a leader in the civil rights and peace movements in San Antonio. In later years, he directed his efforts toward supporting peaceful solutions to conflicts in the Middle East. His serious concerns were balanced by a fine sense of humor and, among San Antonians with a political bent, he is remembered for his many witty letters to the editor on political and international affairs. In his retirement years, he became an active member of the San Antonio Native Plant Society, and well into his eighties he and Edith maintained a lovely collection of native plants at their home. [2]

John Stanford

David Plylar knew John Stanford well.

John was one of the most steadfast, dedicated people I ever knew. We met in the late 60's when he helped organize the San Antonio Committee to Stop the War in Vietnam. My favorite story, which I have told many times, is this: Thein Wah and I were sitting in Don Norton's living room one afternoon trying to decide who among us was the FBI informant. Thein accused me. He said I fit the profile--recently out of the military, crew cut hair, etc. We finally decided that the informant had to be John because he had the perfect cover. He was a high official in the state Communist Party at that time! John's big contribution to civil liberties was when he and Maury Maverick took on the FBI and beat them in the U.S. Supreme Court after the feds raided his home and confiscated his book collection. The last time I saw John was at the Black Lawyers Association meeting at St. Mary's Law School following the decision in the George Zimmerman case.[3]

Tribute to San Antonio communists

The People's Weekly World of May 20, 2000, carried a May Day Supplement. On page B, San Antonio activists paid tribute to contributors to the "worker's cause" - all Communist Party USA members Emma Tenayuca (1916-1999), John Inman (1896-1996), Manuela Soliz Sager (1911-1996), James Sager (1902-1979), Luisa Moreno (1906-1992).

Signatories included Thein Wah.