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Dr. Elias Georges Abu-Saba

Obituary Condolences

Photo Dr. Elias Georges Abu-Saba Passed away on September 28, 2006, after a brief battle with cancer. Friends and family had gathered together the previous weekend to celebrate Elias' life, where he read his own poetry, thanking family and friends who have graced his life. Born in the Lebanese village, Mia-Mia, in 1929 to Georges Abu-Saba and Sabat Saikaly, Elias grew up tending livestock, olives and citrus orchards on the family farm with 10 siblings. He attended Girard Institute and the American University of Beirut, (BS degree 1956), both established by the Presbyterian Church USA. He received his MS in civil engineering (1959) and Ph. D. (1969) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. While at VPI, he met Mary Edith Bentley, a student from Randolph-Macon Woman's College where they were married in 1961. Employed as a structural engineer with Dalmo Victor Engineering Company in San Mateo, Elias then became a professor at the King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He won the Clarence Prouty Shedd Fellowship to study at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, 1964-65, pursuing his passion for contemplation and debate of philosophy, ethics and politics. Elias was always poet and engineer, translating visions into words and soaring structures. He wrote volumes of verse and built everything from houses to space station solar panels. After teaching and consulting at Bucknell University and Bradley University he became full professor at North Carolina A&T State University in 1975, where he taught for two decades, contributing to engineering research and authoring the textbook, The Design of Steel Structures. Working for peace in the Middle East among all peoples was Elias' avocation. He leaves us with love, memories and thousands of poems that remind us there is hope. Dr. Abu-Saba is survived by his wife, Dr. Mary Bentley Abu-Saba; daughter, Leila Abu-Saba MacLeod; son, Dr. Khalil Abu-Saba; son-in-law, David MacLeod; daughter-in-law, Sarah Phelan Abu-Saba; three grandchildren, Cyrus, Joseph and Jacob; two step-grandchildren, Rachel and Tony; two brothers; one sister and myriad family members. To contribute to the progress of cancer cure, his body has been lovingly donated to the UCSF School of Medicine. Memorial Service is at 4 pm, Sunday Oct. 8, Buena Vista United Methodist Church, 2311 Buena Vista Ave, Alameda, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society are appreciated.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 5, 2006
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