ARRA M. GARAB(1930-2011)

The Rev. Arra M. Garab, Ph.D., 81, of DeKalb, Ill., died peacefully Monday, Aug. 22, 2011, at the Rockford home of his daughter, Lisa and her family, after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
Born May 24, 1930, in Woodcliff, N.J., to his Armenian immigrant parents, Garabed and Varsenig (Kiremidjian) der Garabedian, he married Suzanne Alice Anderson on June 16, 1956, in Hornell, N.Y.
After graduating from Tilden High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., he attended Swarthmore College, receiving his Bachelor of Arts with high honors in English in 1951. He then enlisted in the United States Army, serving as aide to the Honorable Luis Munoz Marin, Governor of Puerto Rico. While stationed in San Juan, he taught English as a second language to the Puerto Rican army personnel. Upon his discharge from the military, he enrolled at Columbia University in New York, N.Y., earning his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English and comparative literature. The subject of his dissertation was William Butler Yeats, and he was considered the foremost authority on Yeats' life and career. Professionally he was most proud of the publication of his book, "Beyond Byzantium: The Last Phase of Yeats' Career," still required reading in Stanford University's Creative Writing Program.
Dr. Garab spent his entire life following his passion of teaching young adults. While pursuing his graduate degrees, Dr. Garab taught at the City College of New York as an instructor in the English Department. In 1957, Dr. Garab moved to Waterville, Maine, where he was an instructor and then an assistant professor in the English Department at Colby College. In 1963, he moved to Kent, Ohio, as an assistant professor of English at Kent State University. In the fall of 1966, Dr. Garab came to Northern Illinois University and was a professor in the English Department for 37 years. He "retired" in 1995 and was awarded the distinction of professor emeritus. Because of his love of students and teaching, he continued to teach until his ultimate retirement in the fall of 2003.
While at NIU, Dr. Garab edited the book, "A New University," commemorating the inauguration of Rhoten A. Smith, NIU's sixth president. In 1990, he was named Faculty Member of the Year by the NIU Pan-Hellenic Association. In 1992, his commitment to his students was recognized when they nominated him and he received the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
In addition to his on-campus teaching, Dr. Garab spent many years teaching inmates at Statesville Prison in Joliet. He also spent the summers of 1986 and 1987 teaching modern British literature at Oriel College at Oxford University in Oxford, England.
Dr. Garab spent much of his free time editing numerous publications. Most notably, "Hovhannes Toumanian: A Selection of Stories, Lyrics and Epic Poems." Being asked to edit the works of an Armenian scholar was a source of great pride.
In addition to his commitment to modern British literature, Dr. Garab was a lecturer at Loyola University School of Theology from 1972-1982. After graduating from Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, he was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church on May 23, 1970. He faithfully served as the deacon assistant at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in DeKalb; later serving as deacon-in-charge at St. Chad's and St. Jude's Episcopal Churches in Loves Park and Rochelle, respectively. Ordained a priest on March 29, 1996, he continued to serve the congregation of St. Jude's as the priest-in-charge.
Balancing academia, theology, family and friends truly kept Dr. Garab grounded. His development of the course, The Bible as Literature, is evidence of his ability to blend his two true loves. He served as the chaplain of the NIU Police Department as well as the chaplain of the City of DeKalb Fire Department.
He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; daughters, Varsie (Mark) Geisler of DeKalb and Lisa (Dan) Larson of Rockford; son, Gary (Joy) Garab, also of Rockford; and grandchildren, Suzie, Alex, Gwen, Zula and Andrew.
He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant son, Gregory Garo Garab; and his brother, Haig Gary Garab.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 206 Somonauk St., Sycamore. The Right Reverend Jeffrey D. Lee, bishop of the Diocese of Chicago, will preside. Full military rites will be provided by DeKalb County Honor Guard. A reception will follow in the church parish hall. Cremation has taken place at Anderson Funeral Home Crematory. Private interment of ashes will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to The or The National Parkinson Foundation and can be made to the Arra M. Garab Memorial Fund, in care of Anderson Funeral Home Ltd., P.O. Box 605, 2011 S. Fourth St., DeKalb, IL 60115.
For information, visit or call 815-756-1022.

Funeral Home

Anderson Funeral Home
2011 S. Fourth St. Dekalb, IL 60115