Marie AbouAssaly passed away in her home surrounded by her family on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. Funeral service: 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at St. George Orthodox Church, 3650 Cottage Grove Ave., Cedar Rapids. A visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the church with a Trisagion service beginning at 7 p.m. Burial: St. George Orthodox Cemetery. Services will be officiated by the Very Rev. Father Fred Shaheen; the Very Rev. Father Constantine Nasr, Economos of Oklahoma City, Okla.; the Very Rev. Father George Shalhoub of Livonia, Mich.; the Very Rev. Father Lev Kopistianski of Detroit, Mich.; the Rev. Father Germogen Tucker; the Rev. Deacon Edmund Abodeely and the Rev. Deacon James Atty.
Marie AbouAssaly was born Aug. 1, 1940, to Esber and Zakiyeh (Abodeely) Gharib, in the Village of Aita Al-Fakhar, Lebanon. After completing her education, she worked for a brief period as a schoolteacher. On Aug. 20, 1961, she married Hanna AbouAssaly, with whom she shared 57 years of blessed marriage and a rich life centered on their large extended family, their ancient Orthodox Christian faith and their proud culture.
Hanna and Marie made their first home in Beirut, Lebanon, where they had five children. In 1975, with little else but their trust in God and the promise of opportunity in America, the family immigrated to Iowa and settled near relatives in Marion, a community they grew to love, where they raised and educated their children on the values of good citizenship, hard work, honesty and integrity. They taught their family by example to live honorably, do good works and always be pleasing in the eyes of God.
Marie was a selfless person who touched everyone around her with love, compassion and mercy. She met all of life's challenges with a beautiful smile and a wonderful sense of humor. She was a pillar of St. George Orthodox Church, where she was a fixture at church services. She especially loved the Lenten and holy week church services and, for many years, led the parish's popular dinners, bake sales and festivals. She was known throughout the area and beyond for her wonderful Lebanese cooking and her unparalleled hospitality and generosity. Marie was never idle, as she derived great joy from gardening, knitting, cooking and baking. Her door always was open to anyone who wanted to stop by, and there always was room for visitors at her dinner table, particularly at the holidays. She extended her love to many people in the community, who fondly refer to her as "mom." She was driven by serving others, even during her battle with cancer, as she continued visiting and delivering food to elderly, homebound and widowed friends at Christmas and Easter, gladdening their hearts with her kindness.
She always was grateful for the opportunities afforded her children and fiercely proud of their accomplishments. Her greatest joy came from being surrounded at weekly family gatherings by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom she considered to be her true wealth and measure of success.
Marie is survived by her husband, Hanna; and her children, Gwen (Deacon James) Atty, George (Batina) AbouAssaly, Hon. Nicolas (Cristiane) AbouAssaly, Dr. Michael (Michelle) AbouAssaly and Carol (Elie) Bardawil. Also surviving her are her grandchildren, Jim (Lilly) Atty, Christine (Paul) Lenhardt, Gabrielle, John, Nicholas, Alexa, Grace, Andrew, Elena and Alex AbouAssaly and Zayna, Simone and Christopher Bardawil; four great-grandchildren; her brother, Michel (Tammy) Gharib; her sister, Dunia Abodeely; and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins here and throughout the world.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the Linn-Mar School Foundation (marked "Marie AbouAssaly Scholarship"); or to St. George Orthodox Church. Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.