Oune Somsanith, 45, of Lee's Summit was a laid-back jokester and father of five who loved to make money by finding deals through online classifieds.
Tools and technology were his main interests when buying, selling and trading. But he also kept an eye out for baskets and purses for his wife.
Somsanith was fatally wounded while meeting someone Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, Kan., about buying an iPhone 7 off of Letgo, an app that helps people buy and sell used products. He later died at a hospital.
Somsanith was careful whenever he met someone to buy a phone, his wife, Kelly Somsanith-Hawley, said. He insisted on going to a store to check to see if the phone had been reported stolen, even before he would negotiate a final price.
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“He does this every day,” Somsanith-Hawley said with disbelief. “He knows he can go get an iPhone 7 tomorrow or the next day or the next day.”
If a seller refused to go with him to get the phone checked, Somsanith would walk away from the deal.
Kansas City, Kan., police have not released any information about the killing.
"This is an unimaginable tragedy and our thoughts are with the victim and his family," a spokesman for Letgo said in a statement. "Our team is working closely with local law enforcement to help with their investigation."
Letgo takes safety precautions, including user profiles so customers can see who they are talking with and what others have said about them, the statement said.
The company encourages users to meet in busy, public places.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to cover funeral and other costs for the Somsanith family.
Somsanith was born in Laos in 1972. His family came to the United States as Vietnam War refugees.
"They came with nothing and they had kind of a really rough start," Somsanith-Hawley said. "He was six when they came here and his parents didn't speak English. He carried the family until he was 20 years old and helped them pay bills and function as adults."
The couple both grew up in Ames, Iowa. A grade apart, they didn't know each other but she recalled having him in a class.
"Everyday he would tap me on the shoulder and ask if he could borrow a pencil and paper," she said. "That's how we first met."
A friend introduced them again when she was 16 and he was 18. They were together ever since.
He had few friendships but those he had were strong and deep, Somsanith-Hawley said.
"You either liked him and loved him or you didn't really know him," she said. "The ones who knew him, really loved him.
The couple moved to Lee's Summit in 1997 when Somsanith-Hawley got a job offer from Sprint.
Somsanith, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1994, worked at the Pfizer's Animal Health plant in Lee's Summit until it closed.
He was a stay-at-home dad to the couple's five children for several years and most recently worked part-time in the cafeteria at Lee's Summit West High School.
The job allowed him to get out of the house and be on the same schedule as their children. It also tapped his love of cooking. Somsanith-Hawley joked in his obituary that his family may now starve because he did all the cooking and grocery shopping.
Somsanith-Hawley described her husband as a home body. He loved to mow the yard, watch TV and play cards with their five children — June, 19; Cayenne, 17; TJ, 14; and twins Emily and Emma, who will turn 12 years old on Friday.
He had a laid-back disposition and did things on his own time. There was no rushing him.
Before they got married, Somsanith-Hawley looked at his best man and said, "You have one job and it's the hardest job: It's to get Oune to the altar on time."
Her husband liked to play jokes on the family. He would move his wife's coffee cup as she turned her back just to confuse her.
Somsanith loved to joke with his co-workers too — like hiding and then jumping out at them. He wanted people to take their jobs less seriously and loosen up, have fun and laugh a little bit every day, Somsanith-Hawley said.
"Every day with him was special — and a little bit scary," she said with a laugh.
Recently, they had been talking about the future and what they wanted to do when they grew old together.
"He was like, 'Are you going to want me around when we get older?' " she said. "I was like, 'Honey, there's never a dull moment with you. You never know what to expect.' "
Even though he loved technology, his own phone didn't have cellular service. It only worked when connected to Wi-Fi.
"There's nothing you can't tell me when I can get home," he explained to her.
"He viewed it as his freedom to not have the devices," she said.
Nevertheless, he loved technology and was constantly doing Craigslist and Letgo deals.
On Sunday, someone contacted him about selling an iPhone 7. Because the phones go fast and the person was willing to meet, he arranged to go to Kansas City, Kan., for the deal. Before he left, Oune asked Kelly what he could pick up from the store on his way back.
He never returned.