By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 06, 2001 09:52 AM

A funeral was held on Monday for the first New Yorker killed by anthrax, a Vietnamese immigrant who fled the Vietnam War only to die from the germ warfare agent in the United States. Manhattan hospital worker and Bronx resident Kathy T. Nguyen, 61, died on Wednesday of inhalation anthrax. Her death is clouded in mystery as health authorities remained puzzled about how she contracted the disease that has so far affected only the media, the government, and the U.S. Postal Service. Nguyen was born in Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, and all of her known family was killed in the Vietnam War. She fled to the United States in 1979 and was known as a generous and humble person who enjoyed shopping and was always ready to offer a hand to help her co-workers and neighbors. “She just wanted to be here because she wanted a chance at a better life,” Reuters quoted Libby Pataki, wife of New York Gov. George Pataki, as saying. Pataki added that Nguyen is now “a symbol of the war waged on civilians” in the U.S.