Yousef Daoud Haddad, age 86, of Gainesville, formerly of Damascus, Syria, passed away on Monday, June 9, 2014.|
Funeral Mass will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Flowery Branch, with interment to follow at Memorial Park Cemetery. Father Juan Anzora will officiate. The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Friday, June 13, 2014, at Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel.
Yousef Daoud Haddad was born June 11, 1927, to Daoud Haddad and Sabha Khouri Salek in the village of Rakham, a province of Daraa, Syria. He was the youngest of five children. He attended primary school in Rakham and the neighboring towns of Khabab and Bassir; middle school in Daraa and high school in Damascus. He attended Damascus University Law School in 1947.
He was a social and political activist in Syria. He worked to develop roads and bring electricity and water to his village and the surrounding areas. As a Christian in a predominantly Muslim country, he pursued equality for all people and wanted them to have the right to live freely and prosper. He was against dictatorship, corruption, poverty and illiteracy.
While at Damascus University in Syria, he taught at several schools in Damascus and surrounding rural areas. He started his own private school in Nawa, Daraa, in 1955. Out of his love of education and public service, he did not take any fees from the poor children and he even provided them with free meals, something people did not do at that time.
While he was in Nawa, with the help of the town elders and the charitable donations of the town's people, he was able to establish the first orphanage in southern Syria - The Halema Al Saadia. This orphanage still exists today, and is financially self-sufficient. It continues to be a significant landmark in the city of Nawa. It houses over 100 boys and girls at any one time. He considered this to be his most satisfying accomplishment. He believed that, against all odds, all people could live together regardless of their religions. This belief led him to live in Nawa as the only Christian among 30,000 Muslims.
In 1967, he was one of the leaders of the National Defense Guard in Syria and was seriously injured during training. Despite this permanent injury, he lived his life to the fullest.
He did all he could to bring democracy, education and prosperity to Syria, but was faced with a lot of obstacles and hardships, including the imprisonment of one of his children who was a civil right activist in Syria. He chose to follow his children and grandchildren to the free and democratic USA.
He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Nadwa; his son, Nidal and his wife, Lina Issa Haddad, and their children, Yousif, Karam and Farah; his daughter, Omaima Haddad Fahed and her husband, Ibrahim Fahed; his daughter, Lina Haddad Muhanna, her husband, Nabil Muhanna, and their children, Laila, John and Nadia; his son, Ayham, his wife, Lamis Kawa Haddad, and their son, Salah; his son, Sinan, his wife, Bushra Alzaraneh Haddad, and their children, David and Mariam; and his daughter, Maysoun Haddad Nadrous, her Husband, Hassan Nadrous, and their children, Tony and John.
In lieu of flowers, for those who desire, donations may be made online to www.unicefusa.org/donate/help-syrian-children.
Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel, 989 Riverside Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on June 12, 2014