Tribute to Kru Thanom (Tammy) Sterritt

Tribute to Kru Thanom (Tammy) Sterritt

Tribute to Kru Thanom (Tammy) Sterritt

On October 18, 2014 we lost one of our group’s greatest supporters, Kru Thanom (Tammy) Sterritt. It has brought sadness to the Irvine Thai Arts and Culture group and to all of our volunteers. In this tribute to her we will talk about the ways that she has touched our lives and has made our Thailand Exhibit so successful at the Irvine Global Village Festival (IGVF) for the past 3 years.

Three years ago, we had an opportunity to get to know Kru Thanom through one of our volunteers who had known her for a long time. We asked her to join us in presenting Thai fruit carving at the IGVF. She agreed and led her team members from San Diego to join Irvine Thai Arts and Culture to present the Thailand Exhibit at the IGVF in 2012. At that time we did not know that we had met such an amazing person who had such a generous heart.

With their expertise in Thai fruit carving, Kru Thanom and her team members have shown such artistic craftsmanship in displaying and demonstrating the fruit carving in front of our booth. The vibrant colors of those intricately carved fruits, the beautiful arrangement of the display and the Siamese smiles that always tinted their faces while demonstrating and talking with guests made our exhibit memorable. It was truly the highlight of our exhibit! Other Thai volunteers felt comfortable working with her and her team members. They all had positive comments about the fruit carving team and said that they hoped that Kru Thanom and her team would join us again the following year.

Several of our group’s volunteers were inspired to learn more about the art of fruit carving. We learned that Kru Thanom offered a fruit carving class at Wat Buddhajakramongkol in Escondido. We learned that she volunteered her time teaching the Thai fruit carving there every Sunday for many years. When we started our first class with her, we then realized that she was a true giver. She sincerely taught her students without any compensation. What she wanted was for her students to gain knowledge in this art so that they can utilize it to benefit their lives. She also wanted us to share our knowledge with other friends in our group.

While we studied with her, she never scolded us when we made a mistake in fruit carving. She always encouraged us. She said “It is only fruit. It is trial and error. The mistake made this time will make you do better next time. Don’t worry.” Her giving has touched our hearts even more. Whenever we thanked her for her teaching, instead of accepting that thanks from us she said “It is me who has to say thanks to all of you. You gave me an opportunity to teach!”

Kru Thanom continued to support the Irvine Thai Arts and Culture group. In 2013 our Thailand Exhibit at the IGVF was also very successful. The amazing Thai fruit carving display continued to attract many visitors. Even though she could not join the team who came to the festival, she was still a great supporter behind the scenes. She helped to carve many of the fruits for the display.

This year Kru Thanom’s health declined from sickness, however she was still actively involved in our group’s activities. She realized that she personally could not join our event, however she did not neglect to help us. She encouraged several young talented fruit carving artists to participate. She saw a great opportunity for them to be able to show the art of Thai fruit carving to others who have never seen it before. The opportunity that those artists took has proven to be a success. They are so proud of what they have accomplished.

Today Kru Thanom is no longer with us, but she will never be forgotten. Her generosity and her kindness have touched so many people. The knowledge of the Art of Thai fruit carving that she has given to her students is still visible. We believe that her wish of continuing the knowledge of Thai traditions and the beauty of Thai arts will be fulfilled by her students and her fellow Thai people in the many ways that she has touched our lives!

Kru Thanom (Tammy) Sterritt presented Thai Fruit Carving at 2012 IGVF Thailand Exhibit

Kru Thanom (Tammy) Sterritt presented Thai Fruit Carving at 2012 IGVF Thailand Exhibit

7 comments


  • Vasana Vipatapat

    Kru Thanom was a wonderful teacher. I always remembered Kru Thanom as an lovely and cheerful woman who loved her students and loved to teach fruit craving. She will be remembered.

    October 28, 2014
  • Pat R

    Kru Thanom was not only a great teacher, a very kind person, she also founded and was a full-time supporter of Wat Buddhajakramongkol where all monks refers to her as Mother Thanom. She is the kind that gives without expecting anything in return. We will always remember her.

    October 29, 2014
  • Philip Henderson

    “Thank you for inviting Tammy to be a part of the Irvine Global Village Festival. Her wonderful creations placed smiles of wonder on the faces and in the hearts of thousands of visitors to the Exhibits area of the festival. She likely inspired many visitors to seek more information about Thailand and likely inspired many to visit her homeland. The excellent work she did was a special gift. We will miss her presence at the festival. Her legacy, in part, is the work of her students who will continue to educate future audiences.”

    Philip Henderson, IGVF Exhibit Committee

    October 29, 2014
  • Mai Rabibadhana Na Ayudhya

    Archan Thanom was always a true giver. She taught fruit carving for not only Thais , but anyone, American, Spanish, Japanese etc. at Wat Phuttachak, Escondido for decades. She gave techniques and secrets of her talents for free every Sunday for almost half of her life.

    Anyone who met her can tell that she was so kind and her heart was always bloomed for everyone. She did anything without expectation of any return.

    It was so lucky of me or anyone to know such a true giver in our life. Though she isn’t with us anymore, her funeral still taught us. Hundreds people gathered together with pure love towards her. It was my first time attending the funeral that all the monks in the temples feel truly grateful to the pass away person. It was my first time for me seeing some monks can’t stop crying for the pass away person.

    It was an honor of me to know you kha, Archan Thanom. Thank you for everything. R.I.P

    October 30, 2014
  • “We are sorry for your loss; I know someone with these amazing talents can never be replaced, but their work lives on forever through the people they touch. It is a personal pleasure to have been able to meet her and see her work first hand over the past couple of years at the festival.”

    Amir H. Dorosti, Supervisor, City of Irvine Community Services Department University Community Park

    October 30, 2014
  • “She was truly a gifted and vibrant person. It is wonderful that her memory will continue through the lives she has touched and with every new carving that her students do a piece of her will be shared and she will be remembered.”

    Mya Sanders, City of Irvine, Superintendent, Cultural Arts and Activities

    October 30, 2014
  • Fathi & Maria Yousef

    Her sweetness reminded me of what I found most endearing about the people in Thailand during my visit there. I feel bad I never had a chance to meet her. The booth at the Global Village was always “packed” whenever I looked. But, what a “sweet” lady!

    Fathi & Maria Yousef, Irvine Multicultural Asso., IGVF Committee members

    November 2, 2014

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