Riad Elsolh Hamad
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Riad Elsolh Hamad Longtime peace activist, beloved father, partner, soul mate, and educator Riad Elsolh Hamad died tragically on April 14, 2008. Riad was born on September 20, 1952 in Beirut, Lebanon, but called Austin home since 1970. A lifelong scholar, Riad received the first of many degrees from the University of Texas, Austin. At the time of his death, he was pursuing a PhD in Educational Technology. Riad touched many lives as an educator and friend. He was a computer technology instructor at Clint Small Middle School. He was a selfless individual who focused on helping students realize their potential. He was also a champion of human rights and worked tirelessly for peace and justice. He founded the Palestinian Children's Welfare Fund to aid Palestinian children, women, and families in need. Riad is survived by his loving partner, Diana; his daughter, Rita; his son, Abdullah; his brother, Omar; and other siblings and family across the world. He leaves behind countless friends who will miss him dearly and a legacy of love and peace. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Palestinian Children's Welfare Fund (www. pcwf.org, or by mail at PCWF - Riad Hamad Memorial, 405 Vista Heights Road, El Cerrito, CA 94530).

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Published in Austin American-Statesman on Apr. 19, 2008.
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16 entries
May 2, 2009
I just learned about Riad's death in April, 2009. I am very sad. I came to know of Riad after reading about the Palestinian Children's Welfare Fund, so I sent a small donation.

For years I have empathized with the plight of the Palestinians. I was glad to learn that Riad Hamad was active in helping the Palestinians. He was a good example in showing love to those who are in distress. He lived by the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you want them to do to you". May God remember him in the resurrection.


Olga Flowers
Olga Flowers
May 12, 2008
I think about Riad Hamad every day and I am so sorry for his family and friends as his loss is felt my many people. My son came home from school on the first day he met Mr. Hamad and told us all sorts of things he had learned about his life and his work and his family. I couldn't wait to meet this amazing man. Not only was he a great teacher to my son, he was a confidant and a supporter. My son dealt with some anti semitism at school and who do you think of all the people consoled him? Mr. Hamad. Because he understood what that was about: to be discriminated against for basically being born into a religious affiliation. And he made my son feel better because Riad explained that he too had been discriminated against as well as his precious family and all the people he tried to help in the Middle East. On the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, we told the story of persecution and freedom and toasted Mr. Riad Hamad for all of his good works. Yes, he is Palestinian and we are Jews. We loved this guy! He brought my son a silver necklace after a trip to Lebanon with a piece of the Koran Inside a locket. What a beautiful gesture of friendship and peace. It has a special place of honor in our home. In our hearts, there will always be a special place for him as well. He loved his family so much. It was obvious he was a doting family man and he took care of my child whenever my son had an issue at school.
Plus, my son types 75 words a minute and we have Mr. Hamad to thank for that as well. We will never ever forget him.
Marla Kanoff
May 3, 2008
Marhaba Riad... with your enormous heart and your gentle soul you were a giant. I will remember your smiles, your energy, your sense of humor, and most of all your boundless love for your family, your friends, and for all the children. What will they, and we, do without you, Riad?
Mary Hughes
April 24, 2008
I knew Riad for several years through the work he did with PCWF. He used to attend our annual event Women & Fair Trade where he, together with other women's cooperatives, sold the crafts to benefit children in Palestine. Riad's courage and free spirit will stay forever in my heart. May he be in peace now.
Josefina Castillo
April 23, 2008
My heart is broken... we are all poorer for your leaving. But I thank you, Riad, for during your time on earth you worked with great passion for justice, and you cared as few people do for children everywhere. Stay well, you won't be forgotten.
April 22, 2008
"To live on in hearts left behind is not to die."

While I only had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Riad and Diana this year, I feel as though our souls have known each other for many lifetimes. Diana was a classmate of my late husband Imad at the American University of Beirut. Even though they hadn’t seen each other in many years, when Diana learned of Imad’s death, she reached out to me. In spending time with Diana and Riad, I was impressed by the depth of Riad’s love for Diana, his children Rita and Abdullah, and his students and friends. I enjoyed his sense of humor and admired his passion for his charitable work. I feel very fortunate to have found such kind and caring friends, and I grieve with Diana over the loss of both of our soul mates. However, just as I know that Imad is with me every second, watching over me and taking care of me, I know that Riad will be with Diana, his family, and everyone who loved him. Thank you, Diana, for bringing Riad and the rest of your family into my life. I count my own heart as one of many hearts in which Riad’s memory will live on forever.
D'Ann Rifai
April 22, 2008
Riad was a dear friend whom I worked closely with on PCWF projects for 5+ years. He was warm and funny and driven and obsessed with justice and compassion for other human beings in a very rare way. I've never met anyone with such an amazing mind and ability to turn huge visions into reality. He did this with incredible creativity, energy and perserverance. Riad was my conscience and motivator..whenever I was tired or frustrated or ready to give up, he was there pushing and energizing and explaing why I couldn't stop for a moment--the children of Palestine and Iraq badly needed our help--and as US citizens we had a special responsibility. He spoke hours to me about his own children--R & A-- whom he loved dearly and was so very proud of and he helped me with my own struggles of parenthood. I still can't believe Riad is gone and I won't get a call tomorrow to brainstorm about a new project or an email asking me to act. Riad Elsolh Hamad is irreplaceable and will be badly missed by his friends, family, students, and so many people in Palestine who depended on him when no one else could or would come through. We weep for his loss.
Katherine Hughes-Fraitekh
April 20, 2008
Mr. Hamad touched the life of our daughter. He was a unique man who taught through example. Mr. Hamad taught more than keyboarding. He taught students to think and question. He showed them how to express their opinions and respect and tolerate different opinions. He will be missed but his lessons are forever remembered. His family is in our prayers.
Melissa and Keith Witek
April 20, 2008
Riad... you were an inspiration for many of us working for peace and justice. You will be missed tremendously, but never forgotten.
Haithem El-Zabri
April 19, 2008
Mr. Hamad was a great teacher. Even though neither of us had him we know of him through our friends and family members. He had a kind but funny personality that made his students smile. We pray for his family and hope that they overcome the tragedy. He will surely be missed but remembered by all who knew him.
Gabi Hadad and Teresa Gordon
April 19, 2008
Mr. Hamad was the best teacher we have ever had and taught us our great typing skills. We really miss him and are never going to forget him and his crazy humor. We wish the family and everyone else the best and he will always be in our prayers. We will really miss his bellydancing skills.
Love, Amy and Carla
Amy/Carla Nichols/Solis
April 19, 2008
"Do not think because your acts seem small, your influence is not great"

You were so unique. I always remember your love of your children, your food and the way you always asked me "are you doing okay?"
Becky Harding
April 19, 2008
Riad was a great man. I first met him while volunteering in a hospital in the Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. I was there with a group of American physicians an Riad was instrumental in our ability to provide free medicines to the impoverished people in the refugee camp. Many of my patients would describe him as an angel from heaven. Riad changed the lives of many impoverished, oppressed people in Lebanon and elsewhere. I have witnessed the impassioned prayers many mothers of sick children uttered on his behalf in the crowded halls of Shatila's hospitals. I am certain these prayers from the thousands he has helped will make his journey to the next world one filled with comfort and serenity. May you rest in peace and may God Bless you dear friend.

Dr. RI
April 19, 2008
I did not know him during his life time. But I learned more after his death, through other published on line material and his web site. Based on that, I can say that people like Hamad make life richer in any society - who care about other human beings as much as for themselves or for their own families. His work for Palestinian children will not go waste. He was not afraid to show his love for them. In his words, "Our conscience makes us human". We need more people like him. My symapthies to his family.
Syed Elias
April 19, 2008
to Mr Hamad's family,
this is austin zumar i was in his 2nd period class and i enjoyed his class most of the days i have been it and i have been makeing better grades on typed assignments and essays because of him. my teachers really recognize my potential for their class and school has been easier for me now...I will miss Mr. Hamad and will pray for your family's loss.
Austin Zumar
April 19, 2008
Riad was a dear friend and co-adjunct faculty member at ACC. who always shared his passionate love for his two children and for all children. His AISD middle school students were blessed to know him. Riad was a champion for truth, education, and peace!
Bill Leonard
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