Fouad Wadea Kaldawi was born on March 13, 1936 in Haifa, Palestine. During the 1948 hostilities, the family sought refuge in Lebanon and later became citizens of that country. As a young man, Fouad worked for the BBC in Cyprus, for a construction firm in Iraq, and as a teacher for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in a village in Southern Lebanon, an experience he described as one of the happiest in his life. Along with other members of his family, Fouad immigrated to the United States in the late 1950s. While working as a translator for the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in New York City, he met Joan Lanzel, an art teacher from Pennsylvania, and they were married in 1961. After studying marketing at Queens College in New York, Fouad became national marketing manager for Peugeot and then later worked for Prudential. Fouad and Joan eventually moved to Midland Park, New Jersey where they raised their four children and were members of the Nativity Catholic Church. Fouad was an avid reader of history, and was an expert in both the ancient and modern history of the Middle East. He also studied and was fascinated by the development of language and loved poetry and music. His charm, intellect, and sense of humor attracted people to him, and throughout his life, he had a very diverse collection of friends that included immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, India, and Latin America. He had great compassion for poor and oppressed peoples who suffered discrimination, and befriended and was very generous in giving to those in poverty. In his later years, he informally taught English to immigrants from Latin America who had become his friends.
He is survived by his four children, Muna Killingback and her husband Timothy, Wade Kaldawi and his wife Kara, Bertrand Kaldawi, and Jennifer Cavanagh and her husband Peter, and his five grandchildren: Katherine, Julian, Thomas, Jeremy, and Peter Oscar as well as his sister Yolanda Lanzel and his brother Zaki Kaldawi. He was also a beloved uncle to many nieces and nephews.
Following the wake and prayer service on Friday, July 27th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Vander Plaat Funeral Home in Wyckoff, New Jersey, the family will gather for a private funeral Mass to be held in the chapel of the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania at a later date.
Contributions may be made in Fouad’s memory to American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), www.anera.org.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
--The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam (one of Fouad’s favorite quotations)