New London - Louisa Rizk Shakkour, loving mother of five, devoted wife and daughter, and proud citizen of New London for 60 years, died Thursday morning, Aug. 30, 2012, five weeks shy of her 91st birthday.
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Louisa led an amazing life, full of love and success, with many blessings but not without loss and sadness as well. Louisa, who was born in the mountains of Lebanon, was too ill as a baby to travel to America with her parents in 1922. Her parents were forced to make the agonizing decision to leave her behind as tickets to America were so difficult to come by. So Louisa was raised by her grandparents, who she grew to love dearly, on a small farm in Butmeh. She eventually attended boarding schools in Beirut, graduating from the British Training College with a teaching degree in 1939. Teaching the first and second grades in a boarding school in the small village of Ain Zhalta, she would meet and marry her husband, Mounir, in 1945.
After coming to America following World War II, when she met her grown sisters Marie and Lila for the first time, she gave birth to her first daughter, Leila, before becoming homesick and returning to Lebanon, where her second daughter Linda was born. But Louisa missed America more, and returned for good in 1953, settling in New London where she and Mounir would have three more children, all sons, and run a string of businesses, from grocery stores to bakeries. Louisa left New London briefly with Mounir to run a restaurant in Washington, D.C., but after a very difficult divorce, returned to her beloved and adopted "home town" in 1979.
Louisa was an active and vocal member in her community and church, a nurse's aide at Nutmeg Pavilion Nursing Home for 15 years (well into her 70's!), a member of New London Landmarks and a volunteer at Lawrence & Memorial hospital who never lost her love of life or family. She was a wonderful cook who never made too little no matter how large the crowd, Louisa leaves a legacy of wonderful memories. The farm girl from Lebanon always tended a beautiful and bountiful garden no matter where she was, and tended even more lovingly to her children.
Louisa is survived by her sister, Marie; her daughters, Leila and Linda; her sons, Sami, Camille and Peter; and their spouses, Mike Thorne, Bob Lane, Maureen Shakkour and Karen Shakkour; her grandchildren, Robert and Katherine Lane; and her niece and grandniece, Elaine and Jennifer Adams.
Louisa is also predeceased by her sister, Lila; and her niece, Maurene McCredie.
A memorial service will be held at noon Monday, Sept. 3, at First Church of Christ in New London with a luncheon to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Church of Christ Feed the Homeless Program or to the Southeastern Connecticut Women's Center.
Please visit www.byles.com for her families online registry.
Published in The Day on Aug. 31, 2012