Emile Najeeb Mahfood
1922-2002
Though the voice is quiet, the spirit echoes still.

Emile Najeeb Mahfood was born in Jamaica, West Indies, September 17, 1922. He was baptized in the Anglican Church of England as a boy. He came to America in 1943; settling in Wichita Falls, Texas. His father died before Emile came to America, and he became the breadwinner for his four sisters and mother. In 1947 he moved to Detroit, Michigan and married Maryrose Rasak. After ten years of marriage and four children, he moved to Longview, Texas to be near his brother, Kamel.

Emile taught himself to repair televisions, and for the next thirteen years owned and operated his own television repair and sales business. In 1965 his fifth child was born and five years later he moved his family to Tyler, Texas where he continued to be an entrepreneur and businessman.

He suffered a crippling stroke in 1995, and turned his attention to building a web site detailing the history of the Mahfood family and other branches therein. His limitless curiosity and eagerness to learn new things made the web site a work of continuing historic importance. He died December 21, 2002, after a short illness.

During his lifetime he fathered five children, who in turn gave him sixteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He taught us all the meaning of commitment by virtue of his fifty-five year marriage to Maryrose. He is survived by his five children, Phillip E. Mahfood, Michael E. Mahfood and David E. Mahfood, all of Tyler, Texas and his two daughters, Rosemary Primeaux and Michele Marie Smith, both of Beaumont, Texas.

His surviving grandchildren include Ben Mahfood, Emily Smith, Vincent Mahfood, Sara-Michael Mahfood, Matthew Mahfood, Mary Margaret Mahfood, Hannah Mahfood, and Julia Mahfood, all of Tyler; John-Phillip Mahfood of Lake Brownwood, Texas; Elise Primeaux and Valerie Mahfood, both of Beaumont, Texas; Cortney Smith of College Station, Texas; Meghann Smith of Houston; and Sebastian Mahfood of St. Louis, Missouri.

One grandchild, Joshua Primeaux, preceded him in death.

His unswerving devotion to his beloved wife, Maryrose, as well as his unconditional love for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be the yardstick against which all of his descendents will always measure themselves. He will be sorely missed; he will never be forgotten.

Tributes

My father was my best friend.
No matter how royally I screwed up, no matter how big a mistake I made, he never stopped being my friend.
That was his strength. He loved unconditionally. This is not to say he wasn’t critical. Oh, no.
When I did something stupid, he’d be the first to tell me how big a bone head I was.. But he never stopped loving me. He never stopped loving me.
As a boy, I wanted a soapbox racer. Some of you may remember those. They consisted of four wheels, a steering mechanism, and a pipe fitting attached to the back so someone could push you with a broom handle. I wanted one and he built one for me.
But dad was a purist, and a perfectionist, and wanted my racer to be the best ever built. He didn’t use nails, but rather crafted it with tongue in groove workmanship and glued it together. He admonished me not to take it out of his workshop until he finished it. It looked finished to me. I took it out for a spin. It fell apart. He hadn’t glued it yet, so it could do nothing else but fall apart.
He came home from work that afternoon to find his pride and joy of a soap box racer in several pieces. If he was angry, I didn’t know it. I didn’t need to be yelled at, or chastised with a belt. The look on his face was punishment enough for me. His expression spoke volumes.
But still he loved me.

A few years later, for reasons that I cannot to the day explain, I took six finishing nails and drove them into his new desk. It was a magnificent desk…wide…finished in a light blonde stain.
He had to dig those nails out of the desk, forever marring it’s finish. I had screwed up. He asked me why and in typical ten year old fashion I shrugged my shoulders and said those famous words kids utter every day, “I dunno.”
But still he loved me.

I could stand here and tell you story after story of how as children we tested this man’s patience, how we made his life miserable, how we broke his tools, lost his valuables…wrecked his cars. But the point is, no matter how much any of us screwed up…he still loved us.
In later years, our mistakes were bigger, more involved…more costly both in time, money, and emotions. But he stayed there. He was always our friend as well as our father.
We were partners in crime, he and I. Not real crimes, nothing that would earn us jail time, but we would keep each other’s confidences…hold each other’s secrets. And with him, they were secure.
He was good that way. I once told him something I had done, something that I feared would cause him to turn away from me…to stop being my friend. But there was a need on my part to share that thing with him.
He listened. He pursed his lips. I could see his disappointment, but not his anger. He simply said, “Okay. We’ll get through this.” And we did.
And still he loved me.

As many of you know, he was from a small island in the West Indies. Not exactly a cosmopolitan beginning. But his wisdom surpassed any I have ever witnessed. When I told him that I wanted to drop out of school, when I told him I wanted to work with him full time and give up education, he said, “Okay, but really, you should finish at least the eighth grade. Let’s get that done and you can drop out next year.”
When next year came, and I reminded him of what he’d promised me, that I could stop going to school, he didn’t try to back out of his word. He simply said, “Sure, but why don’t we do this. Why don’t you just start the ninth grade and I’ll mention it to your mother. She’ll be okay with her oldest child not getting an education.
This’ll work out.” Of course, the idea of telling my mother that I was not going to go to school was a “whole ‘nother ballgame.” He and I decided I’d go to school, but not consider myself a real student and I could work with him and just not tell anyone our “secret” plan for my cutting my education short.
He didn’t mock me nor embarrass me with the obvious. Instead, he just waited and was patient…and made sure I stayed in school until the urge to ruin my life had passed.
And still he loved me.

Years later I managed to lose a small fortune…his small fortune…in the stock market. He wasn’t happy about it. But he didn’t berate me. He didn’t tell me what an idiot I obviously was. No, he just said that maybe we should rethink my investment plans.
And he still loved me.

Last Saturday, my father went ahead of me to wait for me again. He left this place and went to a better one. He didn’t want to go, I’m sure. But I absolutely know one thing about him that I will swear is true.
He still loves me.

Phillip Emile Mahfood

Friday December 27, 2002

Allow me, if you please a moment and the opportunity to eulogize our father Emile Mahfood.
I have only eulogized once before, that being the death of my young nephew Joshua, my fathers loving grandson. It seemed appropriate, at that time, to speak of longing and mourning, to speak of love nurtured and lost, and somehow try to make reason of that death. Now as I speak of my father, none of that seems appropriate or important. My father lived and loved for 80 years. Eighty years is a good long life and the fruit and the love of that labor can be seen here today. His nickname was Milo, given that moniker by my mother's oldest brother Carl. No one seems to remember why he was so named but it stood for some 60 years or so. He was born in September or October of 1922 and he died December 21, 2002. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica to Lebanese immigrants, came of age there and then went to the United States, in 1943, to marry our mother. Life in Jamaica, apparently, was very hard for my father. He told us so and we, of course, eagerly believed every word. When he did apprise my brothers and sisters of the Jamaica experience… he did so in measured doses, kind of like this:
· When my brother and sisters would complain of waiting for the school bus by standing outside our front door he would tell us of walking three miles a day, to his one room school house on the island.
· When we would tell him of the misery we suffered by waiting in the heat for the bus, to take us home at the end of the day, he would tell us about walking those three miles a day each way to his one room school house. He was on a roll.
· When we groused and further complained about anything associated with school he would tell us of walking those same three miles, each way, uphill both ways, in the snow, in Jamaica. Only world geography in the 7th grade would free the four of us from that particular piece of guilt.

In his life he had been a peddler, a haberdasher, a banker, and an auto industry manager. He was, during his life, an owner of a gas station, a TV repair shop, a record shop, then many record shops, an arts and craft business and later in life a shoe factory. He was a man of many talents and a master of many talents, always in the pursuit of providing a living, always self-taught. He had work ethics, he had social ethics, he had honor. He was a loyal man, a good friend, and "hail-fellow-well-met" Perhaps you didn't know but he was mild of manner, mild of anger, and soft of heart. He called it the Mahfood Horaney curse-the fact at he was disposed to shedding tears easily. It bothered him all his life, perhaps he thought it was weak. I never saw weakness, I always saw a man that was kind, gentle, and caring and lead with his heart.
I want to tell you of things about my father that, things you might never have known. I decided the best way to tell you all about him was to speak like he did. Not in Arabic, not in English, with a Jamaican accent, but with expressions and old sayings that once pondered, served as lessons to me. Every father prides himself on what they pass on to their children and Milo was no exception. He saw himself as our earliest and foremost teacher. There were years I didn't listen and learn, and there were years I wouldn't listen and learn.
Fortunately for me there were years that I did listen and I did learn.

· Our father was both an inventor and a peddler by nature-from his Presto hot dog cooker to light bulbs with a lifetime warranty .
· · Our father was an early pioneer of desktop computing, as early as 1976 he built, programmed and used a PC.
· · He was an informal engineer able to construct vast wooden structures that would assemble perfectly and with out nails or screws.
· · He was an entrepreneur. He had routes, routes selling 45 PRM records, routes selling stuffed animals like the red Arkansas Razorback Hog with a AM radio in their nose. He used to tell me to find just one item and sell it to Sears. Instant success!
· He as a free thinker.
· This club, the game of poker and Johnny Johnson made his top ten list
· He was a self-taught very intelligent man.
· He was a lover of peace & and my mothers only love

One of my earliest recollections of his influence and direction was at 7 years old. I do not remember the exact circumstances that lead to this but apparently I perceived that my life was in the gutter and any further attempts to live at home were futile and I ran away.
I packed my little suitcase and stopped by the kitchen because I knew my mother was frying chicken and a man on the road needs to eat. Playing the roll perfectly she wrapped up a piece or two of chicken, wished me the best, and I was on the road.
One block away from home I looked around and there was Milo, a half a block behind me. With some measure of indigence, I asked, "why are you following me?" He told me that if things were this bad at home he didn't want to be there either so we were going to run away together. The longer we walked the more we talked. What he said, and perhaps not in these words, but with his actions, he was telling me was that my problems were his problems and together we could handle them. By the simple absurdity of a seven year old and a 40 year old running away together he was also telling me you couldn't run away from your problems either. That began a fifty-year run of the Milo and Michael show. Everybody knows that this day will come, that we will come to face squarely the death of a parent, life and death being the inevitable sequence that it is. Perhaps we can find meaning in this thought from Helen Keller:
"What we have once enjoyed
we can never lose.
All that we love deeply
becomes a part of us."

I told you that I wanted to speak to you like my father would have. Let me share a few colloquialisms that seemed to flow effortlessly from his lips to our ears. Sayings and expressions that once pondered were to have meaning to all five us for all our lives
What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly
Borrowed from John Ruston and perhaps told to him by his father, I think he was saying that nothing is obtained without effort, nothing with a worth or value comes free, and the very best things in life…. family and love must never be taken for granted.
Every jitney thinks her jonquil white
A jonquil is an ugly black bird indigenous to the West Indies. Ugly to all expect it's mother. His meaning was loud and clear. As parents we love our children unconditionally.
Dog has money-buy cheese
This was his way of commenting on the way money changes peoples values.
Swapping a black dog for a monkey
Yet another commentary but his way of asking us "did you improve your life with that decision?"
We believe Milo died a very happy man. He had a life long enough to spend with my mother and fall in love…a life long enough to see his five children grown and established with their own families…a life long enough to meet and love all of his 16 grandchildren and a life long enough to know of his six great grandchildren. By all standards my father lived a good life.
He died in peacefully surrounded, over those hours, by all of his children, all save one of his grandchildren and two of his of his great-grandchildren. During that time hundreds of prayers, and later condolences, poured in from all parts of the world via the Internet. He was, as we all were, protected from reality, for those few precious hours by the place known as Home Place. Our family wishes to thank Hospice of East Texas for giving us, and those who came to be with him at his last moments, the incredible gift of life for his last five days. And because it is the right thing to do, I want to stress our family's wishes that you consider a donation in Milo's name to Hospice in lieu of other memorials or flowers.
Suzann and I, on behalf of my mother, brothers and sisters want to thank to Monsignor Joseph Strickland, my pastor and friend and to Reverend Randy Potter, David's pastor and friend for their prayers thoughts and words today. Our appreciation goes to Ross and Renee French for the music and the gift of their talent and to Peggye Mahfood, Teresa Shick and Emily Smith. It is their gift of love and their knack for organization that you see around you today.
Earlier this year our family met and was befriended by a really good man. This follower of the Hippocratic oath took it upon himself to understand my father and his health, to be personally involved in his almost day-to-day care and in the end guided us to help our father die with compassion and dignity. From the moment his met Milo, earlier this year, to final kiss he bestowed on my fathers forehead at Hospice, Dr. Royal Becker showed compassion and uncommon love for his fellow man. Royal, thank you and always remember that "Healing the sick doesn't" doesn't always mean making someone well.
To Dr. Terry Woodard, my friend, who attended my father in SICU -to Valinda Smith, Veronika, Dave, and Mary his critical care team at Mother Frances, who lovingly treated my father, above and beyond the call of duty. Words cannot express…. thank you all.
Throughout our life my mother's brother Dr. Mitchell Rasak, of Detroit, Michigan has cared for our family. My uncle rests little during a family medical crisis, always ready with information and guidance and diagnosis. To the most caring of men, we say thank you and we thank God for you.
And thank you all for your love, for your support, and for your prayers. God bless you all, God bless our father and God Bless America.
Sincerely and with the deepest of respect, I remain,

Yours Truly
Michael Mahfood
A Son Of Emile Mahfood

I too grieve the loss of Emile.
May he rest in peace. Thanks to him we have a genealogical website.
God bless his surviving family.
Paul Mahfood
U S A

I was certainly saddned to find out of Emile's passing. (I knew him as MILO).
I had the pleasure of fixing his computer whenever he had problems with it. Though sometimes it seemed a hassle to receive a call from him 1-2 times a week, it was well worth it when I got that Thank you and that bright look on his face once his computer was back into operation.
His computer and website seemed to give him the greatest pleasure after his stroke.
I was at IGI Research a week or so ago, and learned of him being in the hospital, but I didn't bother visiting, because I figured he would pull through as he had in the past and in a few days I would be coming to work on his computer again.
I will certainly miss his calls early in the morning or his msg on the answering machine from the weekend, so that he would be first on the list.

Jon T. Garrett
Rose City Computing
Tyler, Texas

It seemed like every other day when I checked my mail, there it was...
"How are you today, my favorite cousin?" That would always be the first line of Emile's correspondence with me.
I never remember him talking about himself or about anything bothering him. Instead, he filled my days with cheer and caring for me.
If I did not write him over the space of a week, he would send a concerned letter asking if I was alright, and if my daughters were well.
When hurricanes through the past couple years came close to Florida, he would call to check on us. At other times, he would call just to say "Hi, you know I'm thinking of you!"

I regret that I did not meet Emile personally, although he always assured me he would welcome us anytime in Texas.
I admire his determination and devotion to his family. I learned much from him about unselfishness and how to have a heart big enough to encompass this great big family of ours. I shall miss him deeply and will always treasure the time we shared together.
Vicki (Mahfood) GrassoDom Grasso, Danielle & Michelle Grasso
Florida

I am so saddened & heartbroken at Emile's passing. I will be forever thankful to Emile for all he did for me & for my family.
Through him I saw a picture of my Grandfather for the first time. And I learned about the wonderful family, through pictures & stories, that I am connected to.
I will miss his emails & cards terribly. And although we never met in person I will feel a void from his passing. I am forever grateful for the short time I had knowing my cousin Emile.
I can't help but think of Emile now looking down on this wonderful family and smiling.
My sincerest condolences to MaryRose & family.
Carol (Carly) Carpenter
New York

My friend Emile,
You are now with the Lord and hopefully looking down on us.
Though our hearts and minds met, but one of my biggest regrets is that I didn't meet you in person.
I sure miss your sense of humor, your love and caring.
Your courage and determination motivated me. I always admired what you've done to your family, close and far, you gave them a look at their roots, your work was acknowledged and well summarized in a few words by your son Phillip:
" Dad, this site alone would have validated your purpose here."

Your quote from "The Song of Life" is for people like you:
"Lives of great men all remind us...we can make our lives sublime
and departing leave behind us ..footprints on the sands of time"
.

Believe me, you touched many hearts, your footprints are every where and your legacy is staying for ever.
Hashem Y. Hashem
Canada

Dear Maryrose and family,
I am very sorry and saddened at hearing the news of the passing away of Emile. I have prayed for his soul at Church last night.
As we all celebrate the coming of the life of a man who had changed the life of so many people on earth, all of the Mahfouz family will also celebrate the life of the great man who spent so many dedicated years to bringing us all closer together.
No one will forget the legacy he has left. May his soul rest in the Kingdom of Heaven and may he look upon us all with a smile on his face.
He can rest assured that he has made such an important impact on so many lives across the globe.
My most sincere condolences to you and the family and a big special thank you for all of Emile's work.
I hope that we can all in our own ways make a difference to people's lives as Emile has done.
Bassam Hafez Salim Eid Mahfouz
and family (Hafez, Enaam, Vicky and Elham-Maria)
England

My deepest sympathies to Maryrose and the rest of Emile's family.
I didn't know Emile very long but what I had encountered I liked very much.
I am sure he was very well loved and is now in the greatest of comforts in Gods kingdom. I was saddened by the news that he was ill and now more so by all our loss.
He will always be remembered for initiating contact with my family and uniting us into the family fold through this website. I am smiling as I remember him.
I have never seen him but I know he was a wonderful man who lives in everyone's fondest memories.
Again sincere sympathies.
Diana Marchioni
Nasima (Mahfood) and Adelmo Marchioni and family.
Canada

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