Joseph A. Wahed
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Joseph A. Wahed

Passed away December 31, 2013 after a long illness.  Joe was born in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo, Egypt, on January 2, 1936.  He was the son of Mourad (Leon) Abdel Wahed and Sarine El Kodsi.  Joe attended Victoria College, a British prep school in Cairo, with the likes of King Hussein of Jordan and Omar Sharif.  He didn't graduate because, along with the other 80,000 Jews of Egypt, he was forced out of his family's longstanding homeland after Nasser's military coup d'état and subsequent nationalism.  Joe and his family took refuge in Paris in 1952.


Joe finished high school in England and attended the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he earned a M.A with honors, in Political Economics.  He returned to Paris and studied at the Sorbonne, where he earned a postgraduate diploma for his dissertation on Economics.  As a "refugee escapee parolee" it was difficult to find work in France so, with the help of HIAS, he immigrated to San Francisco in 1962.


He got his first job with Bank of America's Economics Department then moved to Wells Fargo Bank where he climbed the ladder of success to become their Chief Economist and Senior Vice President.  He became a well-known and highly sought-after business speaker on California's economy during his 27-year career at the bank.  He served as Chairman of the Economic Advisory Committee to the California Chamber of Commerce, was a trade delegate to Japan with then-Mayor Diane Feinstein and had his speeches published in "Vital Speeches of the Day."  


In 2001 Joe co-founded Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA) to tell the world about the nearly one million Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the Middle East and North Africa, between 1952-72.  They were "The Forgotten Refugees," the name of a film produced to tell this little-known story (www.jimena.org).  Joe traveled the country, speaking at universities, churches, and synagogues to shine a light on this part of history that has been ignored.


Joe was a passionate activist for Jewish causes, a raconteur who loved to tell jokes and stories, a man who loved the music of Bach, the stories of Somerset Maugham and the game of rugby, a man who spoke three languages and traveled the world, but loved his children, grandchildren, sisters, mother, wife and friends more than anything else. Joe liked people and loved life.  He will be sorely missed. 


Joe is survived by his wife, Kathi Twomey Wahed of Moraga; his sons and their wives, Andrew and Sara (nee Cruz) Ovadya of San Diego and Dan Ovadya and Tamara Kraus of Davis; granddaughters, Dahlia, Mira, Lola and Lucy; sisters, Sylvie Gordon of San Mateo, Simone Mourad and Suzy Cohen, both of Hallandale, Florida.


A funeral service will be held on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM at Sinai Memorial Chapel, 1501 Divisadero St. at Geary, San Francisco, followed by interment at Eternal Home Cemetery, 1051 El Camino Real, Colma. 


In lieu of flowers, please contribute in Joe's name to JIMENA, 459 Fulton St., Ste. 207, San Francisco, CA 94102 (jimena.org) or Friends of Yemin Orde, 4340 East West Highway, Ste 202, Bethesda, MD 20814 (www.yeminorde.org).





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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Dec. 31, 2013 to Jan. 2, 2014.
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Memories & Condolences
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15 entries
January 13, 2014
Kathi, our deepest condolences. We are so sorry we weren't able to attend the funeral, but we are thinking of you and praying for you in your loss. Regards, Dale and Sherbonne' Barnes-Anderson
January 10, 2014
Kathi, I remember your budding romance with Joe in the early days at WFB...you exuded happiness and I know your lives together were wonderful. Sending love to you in this very difficult time. I'd love to reconnect and sent you a message on Facebook. With love, Shannon (Smith) Hartwell
Shannon Smith Hartwell
January 8, 2014
I worked with Kathi for about seven years in Wells Fargo's advertising department in the early 1980's. When Kathi began seeing Joe and then got married, we were all so happy for her and for Joe, whom we respected not only for his expertise in economics, but also for his approachable humanity. Kathi and family, I am so sorry for your loss. Treasure your memories. Joe will live on in those memories and in your heart.
Mary Lindenstein
January 8, 2014
I was a childhood friend of Joe's wife Kathi, I know they brought a lot of joy to each other. My family's sincere condolences to the Wahed and Twomey families.
Jennifer Cleland
January 7, 2014
I knew Joe when I worked at Wells Fargo in the seventies. He was always charming, bright, and helpful. His passing is a loss to so many.

I worked closely with his wonderful wife Kathy, to whom I send my ardent condolences
Linda Blondis
January 7, 2014
I worked in the department next to joe in the late 1980s, with his amazing wife, Kathi. Joe was so intelligent and approachable. He was a wonderful partner to a very influential woman in my life. I know she will miss him every day, And I am sorry for that, and grateful fir the years of happy memories she can fall back on.
Catherine Malone
January 6, 2014
Joe was a wonderful, smart, funny, loving man. We met in the early 1980s and went out for a while. We remained friends. His commitment to Jimena, his family and friends was always on his mind. He was a very special man. My condolences to his family and friends. I know he will be sorely missed.
Barbara Leicht
January 5, 2014
May your family be blessed with the love and light you gave them in your life.

You raised two wonderful sons, who will continue to shine light into the world with their beautiful families.
RP Goldenberg
January 3, 2014
A great man, his works will live on for many years. I send sincere wishes of comfort to his family.
Sid Tafler
January 2, 2014
I am so saddened to hear of Joe's passing. He was such a kind and gentle man. I remember the day I met him, for a discussion over lunch that led ultimately to the formation of JIMENA. His passion for this cause was not matched by any other. My love to Kathy and the whole family, may you be comforted in this time of grief. ???? ???? ???
Yitzhak Santis
January 2, 2014
As an Old Victorian, I will miss Joe's frequent e-mails within our group. Joe, congratulations for your great legacy. May the Almighty be with you, always.
Maurice Eskinazi
January 1, 2014
I( never the opportunity to meet Joe but what I have heard of this person he was a great MAN with great hopes to help the
lost ones. The Jews of Egypt. I am an EX Victorian from Alexandria. Came to U.S after the War 1945 and my fathers family had to leave Alexandria 1956 and 1959. May he rest in peace.
Mark Cassuto
January 1, 2014
From one Victorian to another…repose toi en paix cher ami.

Andre Bolaffi
Allenby house, 1948
January 1, 2014
What can I say,I am completely at loss for words.joe one is no longer with us..I will miss him,
It's a difficult moment for all the loved ones,my sympathy goes to them..all I can say is courage dear ones,joe is alive,he lives in our memories ...
Gaby Zein
January 1, 2014
Joe will be greatly missed by his friends from Victoria College
Michael DANA
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