Dr. A. Karim Khudairi
{ "" }
Share A.'s life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Dr. A. Karim Khudairi, noted scientist and prominent interfaith figurehead, died on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at his home in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He was 95. Khudairi was born in Amarah, Iraq, and graduated from the University of Baghdad in 1947. He taught science in Iraqi high schools for two years before arriving in the United States in 1949 to pursue his Ph.D. on a fellowship at the University of California at Los Angeles. He became an American citizen in 1970. Upon completion of his studies at UCLA, Dr. Khudairi was a professor and Dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Baghdad, and was granted an international fellowship from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, where he conducted research at the University of Wageningen, Holland. He was a landscape architecture consultant for the 1957 master plan of the City of Baghdad, in collaboration with The Architects Collaborative (TAC) of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later was an agricultural consultant for a variety of projects including arid zone irrigation, food production, and hydroponics throughout the Middle East and Africa. In 1963 he established a poultry farm specializing in chicken production, hatchery innovation, collection automation, and natural feed to promote the healthy growth of thousands of broilers, from chick to market. In 1965 he founded Nader Foods, one of the first food manufacturing facilities in Iraq. Nader Foods modernized packaged food prod- uction and introduced an array of locally-produced, custom-packaged products that included spices and spice blends, custard and gelatin, baking ingredients and cake mix, dry instant soup mix, pickles, preserves, and fruit juice concentrates. The company rapidly grew in popularity and was the leading brand of packaged food products in the Middle East for nearly three decades. He returned to the United States in 1966 as professor and Graduate Director of Biology at Northeastern University in Boston, and was recognized for establishing Northeastern Universitys Burlington campus greenhouses for plant physiology research. Over his career, he published fifty scientific papers, authored The Ripening of Tomatoes: A molecular ecological approach to the physiology of fruit ripening cover article for American Scientist, wrote an entry for the Encyclopedia of Biological Sciences, and has published research in the Smithsonian. He was awarded a US National Science Foundation grant for his research. While on sabbatical from Northeastern University, he was awarded a Swedish Science Foundation grant to conduct research at the University of Stockholm. He was a lecturer at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Cambridge, and presented at numerous universities and institutions in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and dozens of countries in the Middle East and Asia. Following his retirement from Northeastern, Dr. Khudairi was a consultant for the United Nations Development Program at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Over his multifaceted career as a scientist, educator, administrator, entrepreneur, consultant, and businessman, his thirst for knowledge and quest to benefit humanity never abated. His lifelong commitment to peace and tolerance deepened his philanthropic support towards education, humanitarian, and outreach efforts. An unstoppable force in helping advance the Muslim community in America, he was president of the Islamic Center of New England in the 1970s, the founding Chairman of the Islamic Council in the 1980s, and trusted advocate for the Islamic community for more than 50 years. He was a champion of unity, whose interfaith campaigns touched countless lives and advanced acceptance across churches, temples, mosques, and other places of worship in New England. He initiated ecumenical interfaith programs such as the Muslim-Christian Dialogue with the Mass Council of Churches, and established long-standing relationships with the Archdiocese of Boston, in close cooperation with Archbishops Cardinal Humberto Sousa Medeiros, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, and current Cardinal Sen Patrick O'Malley. He was amongst the most in-demand spokespeople after the 9/11 attacks, and, for several years, was the Muslim representative for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts official memorials for 9/11 victims and their families. In addition, he was an outspoken challenger against hate crimes and was featured in the Commonwealths Stop The Hate initiative. A Wellesley resident for more than five decades, Khudairi was an active leader in numerous community programs, including the Wellesley Club, the Rotary Club, the World of Wellesley, and the Town of Wellesleys annual interfaith Thanksgiving breakfast. He passionately advocated for a menorah to be added to the Wellesley Town Hall holiday lights, which was later accompanied by an illuminated crescent to celebrate the communitys diversity. He proposed the expansion and re-purposing of Wellesleys under-utilized Centennial Park and wildlife sanctuary to include a master plan for a professionally-maintained public park and botanical resource in the Olmstead manner, akin to Bostons Arnold Arboretum. His vision included the relocation of the Wellesley Country Club clubhouse (dates back to the 1740s, and was originally the poor farm and town hall), where the town of Wellesley was incorporated, to Centennial Park (the clubhouse was slated for demolition at the time, and was razed in 2008). He proposed the Town apply for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to be applied towards the protection and conservation of the Wellesley Country Club clubhouse to be used as an educational, historical, social, and art center to benefit the Town through performances by the Wellesley Symphony and Choral Society, to serve as the center for the Historical Commission for fundraising and meetings, and generate revenue for the Town by leasing space in the building for a restaurant and function space to hold weddings and other events. His appreciation of local history and preservation led him to purchase and renovate the architecturally significant Washington House in Wellesley Square, where he resided until his death. He is survived by Sajida, his wife of 61 years, his children, Faris, Maha, Suha, Nabeel, Tala, and Sally, fifteen grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. Memorial donations may be made to seed the A. Karim Khudairi Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that will advance Dr. Khudairis legacy by raising awareness, funding scholarships, and supporting events that promote education and interfaith initiatives. For more information, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-karim-khudairi-memorial-fund.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Wellesley Townsman from Apr. 21 to Apr. 30, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
2 entries
May 4, 2020
Dear Mrs.Sajida Khudari and the family:
This is a great loss for all of us.
His legacy will remain for ever in this life and hereafter. We will miss his wisdom, vision,kindness, and compassion.
It is very hard on all of us but to accept God's will.
May Allah (swt) shower him with his infinite mercy and put hm in his highest place in paradise.May God give you,Nabeel, family and all of us patience,Sabr and condolences.
Fatma &Ali Antar
Ali Antar
April 26, 2020
Deepest sympathies. May your wonderful memories warm your heart and family
Jean Dubowsky
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences