Suad Ghareeb Namay passed away peacefully in her sleep in the early morning hours of March 30, with her loving daughter and caretaker, Tina, at her side. She was born February 10, 1929, the eldest of three children to Aftimos and Ghandoura Ghareeb in Aitha al Foukhar, Lebanon. At a young age, she moved with her family to Beirut so she and her siblings could attend the schools of the American University of Beirut.
Suad was stunningly beautiful, captivatingly charming, and irrepressibly courageous. At a time when it was relatively unheard of in Lebanon for a single young woman to leave her family, she traveled alone at 18 years old to the United States to attend American International College in Massachusetts where she studied Early Childhood Development. There, she met the love of her life, Dr. Elliot (Eli) Namay during his visit with his family in Springfield. After a whirlwind romance, they married and returned to Charleston, built their life in the family home on Quarrier Street, and she continued her education in Elementary Education at Morris Harvey College. Sadly, Eli tragically died after less than ten years of marriage, leaving her at the young age of 34 to raise six children on her own, with the help of her sisters-in-law Freda Namay and Vida Farris. Her children became the sole focus of her life and she took great pride in nurturing them to follow in the footsteps of her and her beloved Eli – to be well-cultured and well educated free thinkers, dressing them up and parading them to every symphony and Community Music concert and other cultural events from the time they were just toddlers. Her home became a haven for the masses of her children’s friends and a sanctuary for those who had few other safe and supportive options.
When her children grew old enough to care for themselves, Suad worked at various jobs with Eli’s cousins Fred, Dr. Richard, and Dr. Ed Lewis to support her family. Well into her 80s, she expressed her boundless love for children as a pre-school teacher at St. Agnes Grade School. She dearly loved exploring the beauty of West Virginia, traveling the United States, enjoying live music of every genre, and attending political, labor, and environmental rallies with her daughter.
Suad adored her grandchildren and found great joy in passing on her traditional Lebanese cooking and baking skills to future generations of her family. Her hospitality was legendary. She welcomed everyone into her home, feeding an endless parade of friends and family, and hosting countless pool parties almost daily for her children’s friends. During the huge annual St. George Labor Day conventions, her home became the gathering place for visitors from all across the country.
Suad was a devout Orthodox Christian and faithful member of St. George Orthodox Cathedral where she was a member of the Shums il Bir club, the Ladies Guild, Sunday School teacher, and years-long master of the salata at the annual St. George dinner. It is particularly fitting that she transitioned from her earthly life during the Orthodox Paschal Lenten season, as she was a faithful reflection on this Earth of the Holy Theotokos, and this was her favorite season of the Church calendar. She rarely missed any of the weekly Lenten services and quietly and reverently practiced her faith and devotion, providing an example of the true spirit of Orthodox Christianity to all.
Suad was preceded in death by her grandparents, Fares and Miriam Ghareeb, parents Aftimos and Ghandoura Ghareeb, husband Dr. Elliot (Eli) Namay, and sisters-in-law Freda Namay and Vida Farris.
Suad is survived by her children Tamara Namay (Mike), Tina Rose Marie Namay, Nina Cartee, Elliot Namay, Jr. (Gina), Gigi Namay, and Daniel Namay (Tinette); stepson Dr. David Namay (Kevan) and children; grandchildren Eli Namay, III (Ruby), Daniel “D.J.” Namay, Jr., Jordan Namay, and Timothy Namay; brother, Fares (Laila) Ghareeb; sister, Isaf (Farid) Abla; and many nieces and nephews and their families.
Visitation will be from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, April 2, following the Akathist to the Theotokos at St. George Orthodox Cathedral on the corner of Lee and Court Streets in Charleston. Trisagion prayers and eulogy will take place at 8:00, immediately following the Akathist – not at the end of visitation as traditionally is done. Funeral services will take place at 11:00 Saturday morning with visitation beginning at 10:00 a.m., with Fr. Joseph Hazar and Fr. Olof Scott officiating.
Memorial donations in honor of Suad can be made directly to St. George Orthodox Cathedral or to the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) through St. George.
A beautiful tribute to her life by Sandy Wells appeared in the Charleston Gazette and can be seen at the following link:
You may send condolences to the family at: www.barlowbonsall.com
Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home has been entrusted to handle the arrangements.