Neary Sao (71) passed away on January 15th, 2023, from cancer.\n\nNeary was beautiful, kind, funny, and loved by many people. Her sense of humor and lightness of being always made any serious or difficult moments in life much easier to bear.\n\nShe always thought of other people before herself, giving so much always - whether it was financially supporting her family in Cambodia, helping family and friends relocate to the USA from Cambodia, sharing a delicious dish she had made, or the bounties from her vegetable garden with friends.\n\nShe was a very skilled clothing designer, working with a variety of materials from Cambodian fabrics, silks, and laces, to winter fleece, and stretch spandex. Her incredible skills, attention to detail and patience allowed her to lovingly create clothing for all the social circles she touched. She created traditional Khmer formal wear for weddings and ceremonies for the Cambodian community over many years; winter clothing for her family, coworkers, and classmates; and even figure skating attire for friends’ children. Her sewing studio was always filled with a kaleidoscopic array of beautiful fabrics, and many classic and industrial sewing machines.\n\nFashion was not her only creative outlet. She loved cooking, spending countless hours in the kitchen to passionately create many traditional Khmer dishes for her family, friends, and neighbors. She expanded her repertoire by studying and earning an associate degree in culinary arts from YCCC in 2005. A meal with Neary was unlike any other. Whether it was for two people or a big group dinner, it was always a special celebration of sharing delicious flavors she had lovingly created with good company.\n\nIn her youth, she was a traditional Cambodian Apsara dancer. We will always remember her hands, her long and elegant fingers that seemed to stretch forever. She was so flexible, she could bend her fingertips backwards and touch them to her wrist. These were the hands that memorized the gestures that symbolized elements of mythology and nature important to the Cambodian people. This was the woman that her husband Ban fell in love with as a youth.\n\nShe was a strong and courageous woman, carrying and giving birth to a child in a Khmer Rouge forced labor camp. When the opportunity came, she escaped the camp on foot with her husband and daughter. After her husband had gone ahead to make sure they had a safe way out, she braved the difficult final voyage across minefields, looters, and pillagers alone with her 2.5-year-old daughter Somira. Reuniting the family in a humanitarian camp at the border they were able to be transported to a refugee camp in Thailand, escaping the country to later immigrating to Biddeford, Maine.\n\nShe worked incredibly hard, being a mother, wife, and working full time 2nd shift for most of her life to support her family. She never wavered in the goal she shared with her husband to provide as much opportunity to their two children as they could as they settled in Acton for many years, later returning to Sanford in their retirement.\n\nShe is survived by her husband, Ban Sao (75) retired principal engineer AVX Tantalum; her daughter Somira (45), who is a photographer, sailor and mother of six children Tormentina (14), Raivo (12), Pearl (10), Tarzan (6), Jade (4) and Atlas (2); and her son Wichita (39) solutions engineer Liberty Mutual and father of Anna (11), and Sebastian (8).\n\nShe will be missed dearly by her family and friends.\n\nVisitation will be held from 12:30 to 1:00 PM with a funeral service following at 1:00 PM on Saturday, January 28th at the Carll-Heald & Black Funeral Home, located at 580 Main Street in Springvale. Interment will be in the spring at Oakdale Cemetery in Sanford.\n\nArrangements are under the direction of Black Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Sanford-Springvale.