Born in Kfarkatra, El-Shouf on 23 December 1923, Wadih Massoud Maalouf is the third of three children of the late Massoud Antoun Maalouf and Amineh Bounassif Maalouf. He was six months old when his young father Massoud died; his brother, Chafic, was two and sister, Zehreh, was three. Amineh, from the town of Amik next to Kfarkatra, was a strong willed woman determined to protect her family whatever the circumstances were and whatever difficulties she faced. After the passing of her husband she started working at the silk factory in Maaser Beit-Eddine to provide the daily bread and the basic requirements of life for her three children.
At the young ages of 10 and 8, Chafic and Wadih helped their mother by accepting work in moving long logs of woods, that they used at the time to build the roofs, from the river down the valley next to their hometown to the village square. They moved three logs a day and were paid a minimal compensation. In spite of this tough job and life, they lived happily together in Kfarkatra. When the opportunity arose to work in Beirut, both brothers left Kfarkatra in 1940 for better paying jobs and to provide for themselves, their mother and sister a better life and a secure future.
Wadih, with his good looks and demeanor landed himself a job as butler at the influential home of Mr. John Freije, the brother-in- law of Beshara El-Khoury, the fist President of Lebanon. He had the opportunity to know President Beshara El-Khoury personally. One of the international guests that Wadih served in the Freije's dining room was Winston Churchill in 1944. The Family Freije loved Wadih very much and offered him to work at their residence as long as he wanted. But Wadih desired to open his own business and he moved on to open a grocery store in 1950 in the Karacol Druze neighborhood of Beirut. His working days started at 3:00 am except Sundays. His store was open to all kinds of people including those who could not afford to pay for their groceries. Wadih would understand, forgive and provide them with food. His generosity had no limit. He remained in this job until he sold the business and retired in 1989.
In the late seventies - early eighties, the regional war in Lebanon reached his neighborhood in West Beirut, so his store was bombarded three times at different dates. As the Christian community began to feel the danger and was consumed with fright, Wadih reached out to the local militia leaders and recommended a committee to deal with the situation in protecting the neighborhood and its Christians. They welcomed his idea and he met with them as needed. Through this committee he was able to move several Christian families safely to East Beirut. The same committee protected their homes and belongings which they left behind until their return. So, this is Wadih the negotiator, the democratic, the open minded and the believer in national unity among all Lebanese regardless of the religious differences.
Even though he lived continually in Beirut, Wadih did not forget his hometown and its needs. In the mid forties of the last century the people of Kfarkatra worked the land and livestock to provide for their families the daily bread. His strong connection with the Freije family allowed him to provide food donations to some families in Kfarakra from the Lebanese Red Cross whose president was Mrs. Alice the wife of Mr. John Freije. Later on, he became one of the two church council members of Our Lady of Deliverance Melkite Catholic Church. His association with this church goes back to his father who was the cantor on every Sunday Mass. In 1970 he started a fundraising drive with his partner on the Church council the late Mourad Mounzer to renovate the old church that was built by the late Khalil Mitri Maalouf in 1892. In 1972 and under the patronage of the late Metropolitan Basilious El-Khoury who had a cordial and respectful relationship with Wadih and who visited him frequently to see how the renovation of the church is progressing; at one occasion he pulled his sleeves up and joined him and his family in putting together the printed calendars stuffing them in envelopes to be ready for the following day fundraising.
Wadih lived with the teaching of Jesus. He practiced when dealing with people what Jesus said: "He who slaps you on your right cheek turn your left cheek to him."This is the way Wadih lived his Christianity - humble, patient, exemplary, compassionate and content. He raised his family with determination, conviction, care and lots of sacrifice and his house was always open to all people.
Wadih Massoud Maalouf is survived by his wife Marie Abi-Saleh Maalouf from the Northern town of Douma and four children: Walid who is married to Janet Helms of the United States of America, Wafaa, Director of Nursing at Saint George Hospital, Souha who is married to Roger Raphael of the Kiserwan town of Dlepta and Nina, a free lancer with CBS in Los Angeles, and five grandchildren: Charlotte Amineh Maalouf, Wadih Benjamin Maalouf, Jean Baptist Raphael, Mathew Raphael and Marie Alisar Maalouf. They celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on September 16th, 2013. The family was planning a celebration for his 90th birthday on December 23, 2013, but God called upon him for eternal life on December 14, 2013.
We are Risen in Christ