Mina Tran Irwin

Mina Tran was born in Perth, Australia on February 14, 1985.  Valentine’s Day could not be a better symbol for her loving heart and kind nature.  Her parents were born in Vietnam and immigrated to Australia in the aftermath of the “American” or “Vietnam” war. Eventually they made their home in Sydney and were successful entrepreneurs.

A boy I went out with in high school, Brian Orr, was killed in Vietnam. He was 19. Brian was a lanky, good-natured country boy who loved to ride motorcycles.  The last photo I saw of him was in Vietnam, with his fatigues, rifle, and big smile. His mother never got over his death.  I couldn’t have imagined at 17 a future son would marry a girl whose parents were North Vietnamese.  That’s life—twists and turns that we can never anticipate.

My son, Robert Irwin, was smitten on the first date. He opened his hand, and his heart flew to her. Mina is exceptionally beautiful.  She is also thoughtful, kind, determined and adventuresome; qualities Robert shares and admires.  When Robert called his Mother and I to ask us to meet her, I knew instinctively she was “the one.”  They are both seekers by nature, and it was fortunate one soul found the other.

On November 6, 2015, Mina and Robert married in New York City.  She became Mina Tran Irwin. Lori and I became “The Moms.”  Robert is my wonderful son that I cherish; and Mina is the beautiful daughter of my heart.

In the years since I met her, my feeling and admiration for Mina has grown. She is the most artistic person I have ever met.  She has such a creative flair—whether its clothing, food, or fine arts. We share a love of paper and stationery; but I can only envy Mina’s elegant cursive handwriting.  It is so reflective of her gracious persona.

Mina is also a great cook.  She cooked the best Christmas dinner I have ever had.  Christmas is probably the worst family dinner to attempt.  It is emotion and nostalgia layered with childhood memories, mother’s cooking, and traditional tastes, smells and feelings.  But she did—she took on the challenge and created a dinner we remember with delight and look forward to having again.  The dinner was so delicious that it was hard to believe that she hadn’t been cooking it or helping to cook it for 30 years.  It was her first-time cooking Christmas dinner.

I am very proud of Mina’s talents and qualities.  She’s a very humble person, so she doesn’t see them as clearly as I do.  She’s a wonderful daughter, a terrific mother, and I love her so much.  Happy Birthday to the Best Daughter in the World.








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By Karen