Eloquent former ambassador to Lebanon, Sir George Arab passes away
Sir George Anthony Arab
87. It is with deep sorrow and heavy hearts that we announce the peaceful passing of a truly distinguished gentleman. A beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, George Arab passed away on May 25, 2009, at home, surrounded by his loving family. George was born in 1922 in Diman, Lebanon. The son of the late Anthony and Mariam Arab.
He spent his early years in Lebanon where he received a Baccalaureate degree from Saint Joseph’s University with the highest honours one could receive, finishing first in his class in all of northern Lebanon. His powerful mastery of the French language and knowledge of French literature was equal to none.
Educated in three languages, Arabic, French and English, his intellectual mind allowed him to become a writer, poet, eloquent public speaker and teacher to many Diman Lebanese immigrants here today. He entered the priesthood where he studied Syriac and learned all the rights of the Maronite church.
Changing his life path in 1949, he immigrated to Halifax, where he began his first retail business. This evolved into a successful wholesale business, known as “G & P Arab Ltd.”, which he owned and operated with his brother, Phillip. Through this business, George met many throughout the province and beyond and achieved a reputation as an honest and well-respected business man.
George was a pillar in the Lebanese community. He was instrumental in establishing the Lebanese community here in the Maritimes as it is today. He had an abiding and lifelong interest and love for his homeland of Lebanon and always strove to keep the ties open and to keep informed on happenings in that part of the world. Most importantly, he taught his fellow Lebanese immigrants to love their new land of Canada.
In 1955, George returned to Lebanon and married his beloved wife, Laurence. Together they returned to Halifax and raised six beautiful children, four boys and two girls. In 1972, George had bestowed upon him an honour by the Lebanese Government. He was appointed “Honorary Consul of Lebanon” for the Maritime Provinces. He fulfilled this role with the utmost attention, skill and diligence.
He was extremely active in his local community. He served several terms, as President of the Canadian Lebanon Society. He was an active member of Saint Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church and later Our Lady of Lebanon Church, where he served as a Minister of Eucharist and assisted the Priest in many Syriac masses.
In 1989, George was knighted “Sir George” when he was inducted into the Order of St. Gregory, the highest tribute bestowed by the Pope for contributions made to the church and community.
In 2001, George was the first recipient of the “Lebanese Emigrant of the Year Award”. This award is given by the Lebanese Government to deserving individuals who have helped others adopt to their new homelands, away from Lebanon.
Sadly missed by his loving wife, Laurence of 54 years, along with their children, Zana Francis (Antoine) of Lebanon; Tony/Ji (Norma) of Halifax; Cathy Fares, (Wadih) of Halifax; Eddy (Debbie) of Halifax; George of Paris, France and Philippe (Mary) of Halifax; grandchildren, Jimmy (Lara), Antony, Zana (Mark), Maurice, Monique, Matthew, Danielle, Jacob, Lucas and Oscar; great-grandson, Markus. Also survived by brothers, Chucri (Margo), Phillip (Patricia), John (Margo) of Halifax; sisters, Yasmine and Georgette of Lebanon. Many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents, as well as his brother, Toufic.
A special thanks to Dr. Stephen Gibbon and all the care givers, for their assistance and support, during this difficult time.
Visitation will be in J. A. Snow Funeral Home on Lacewood Drive, Halifax, today from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral mass will be held 11 a.m., on Thursday, May 28, in Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church, 3844 Joseph Howe Dr., Father Pierre Azzi officiating.
Interment will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Sackville.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to “Our Lady of Lebanon Church.”
“Ou dans le sein de Dieu, ta source ta patrie, Affranchi pour jamais de tes liens mortels, Tu va jouir enfin de tes droits eternels.
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