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Brown-Wynne Funeral Home

200 Southeast Maynard Road, Cary, NC

OBITUARY

Fuad Akil Rihani

30 September, 193726 June, 2020

Dr. Fuad Akil Rihani, 82, of Cary, NC, passed away peacefully Friday, June 26, 2020, surrounded by his beloved wife and children after a lengthy battle with cancer, fought with his characteristic faith, grace, and humor.

Born in Al-Husn, Jordan in 1937, Fuad was the sixth of eight children from Akil Odeh Rihani and Tamam Bdeweih Selameh Ayoub. He is preceded in death by his parents, sisters Maha and Juliet, and brothers Fouzi and Kamal. His other three siblings Jane, Awatif, and Jamal reside in Jordan, along with the rest of a large extended Rihani family.

In 1954, Fuad received a full US AID scholarship to study civil engineering at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, where he won the prestigious Penrose Award for scholarship, character, and leadership. It was also at AUB where he was introduced to classical music by a professor, beginning a lifelong love of and support for music within his family and community.

He returned to Jordan in 1959 with his bachelor’s degree and worked for four years there on highway projects before heading to Raleigh, North Carolina, to pursue his Masters degree in transportation engineering at North Carolina State University, under a Fulbright scholarship. In 1964, he returned to the Middle East, working on road and airport projects in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. By 1968, Fuad was once again at NC State for his doctorate in transportation engineering, which he earned in 1974. Fuad’s professional life after his PhD included time with the NC Department of Transportation as Chief of Statewide Transportation Systems Planning, and with NC State University as an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering.

In 1978, he began a 40-year career in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi Binladin Group, specializing in project research and development, a role that took him all over the world and allowed his professional and personal gifts to truly shine. He represented the company on several boards and association memberships in Washington, DC, and elsewhere. In audiences with kings, presidents, and every manner of dignitary, Fuad himself was a natural ambassador for his homeland Jordan, his profession and employer, and the country of which he was endlessly proud to call himself a citizen, the United States.

Of all his academic and professional successes, March of 1969 marked Fuad’s greatest life accomplishment, when he met and fell in love with Katherine Elizabeth Ketner of Hickory, North Carolina. Their story began as the result of a “computer dating” program run by the North Carolina university system, a story that friends and family never tire of hearing. They married a few short months later, on August 23, 1969. Last year they celebrated their 50th anniversary by taking a 40-day cruise around the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland and eastern Canada. Even though periods of their married life were spent apart while Fuad commuted between Hickory, NC, and Saudi Arabia for work, Fuad and Kathy created a life and love story all their own.

Everyone who knows Fuad knows that his family was his greatest joy. His and Kathy’s marriage produced three children, Elizabeth (married to Rami, living in Washington, DC), Kristin (married to Tom, living in Apex, NC), and John (married to Angie, living in Fishers, IN), and in turn six grandchildren: Hana and Alia (Elizabeth and Rami), Rachel and Thomas (Kristin and Tom), and Jenna and Grace (John and Angie). Fuad took immense pride in being called Granddaddy or “Koo Koo,” a nickname given to him by his grandchildren themselves and one that he reveled in. He was truly crazy in love with his grandchildren and never hesitated to be his most charmingly ridiculous self if it meant that he could see them laughing. He and Kathy (Kee Kee to Fuad’s Koo Koo) drove countless miles to attend piano and voice recitals, elementary school graduations, Holy Confirmation services, and as many birthday celebrations as they were able. Grandchildren’s trips to their home in Cary or their beach home in South Carolina meant endless cuddles, lots of off-key singing, and Koo Koo’s famous stories, with which he could captivate even the wiggliest grandchild. Fuad’s love of family and community extended far and wide. His support of his late mother and sister Jane began as soon as he began earning a paycheck after his undergraduate degree. His nieces, nephews, and other family members around the world all have stories of Fuad taking them out to dinner or shopping when he visited where they lived for work. He gathered his children’s friends in as his own and spoiled them accordingly. His travels allowed him to visit his family in Jordan regularly and be present for engagement parties, weddings, family celebrations, or an invitation to eat a mansaf, his favorite meal of lamb, rice and yogurt. Fuad was especially proud recently of helping to plan, fundraise for, and support construction of a Rihani Association building in Amman where large events and other gatherings can be held. He was also proud to be involved with several Jordanian-American associations in the United States. Above all, Fuad will be remembered for his legendary generosity, effortless warmth and intelligence, his profound love of the Lord, and an unmistakable laugh that filled any room he was in. He will also be remembered for his love of music, his ability to recount family history, remember everyone he had ever met (including their children’s and parents’ names), napkin note jotting, his daily schedule and lists copied meticulously into his journals, the many faxes he continued sending in defiance of the digital age, the toothpicks he kept stashed in pockets, the house and car, and sneezes that could be measured only on the Richter scale. When asked how he was doing, he would inevitably answer, “On top of the world!” That is the Fuad we will all remember, someone who made you feel like you were on top of the world, too, whenever you were with him.

Due to COVID-19 circumstances, a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages well-wishers to donate to Resurrection Lutheran Church, 100 W. Lochmere Drive, Cary, NC 27518; or Grace Lutheran Church, 4536 Hickory Lincolnton Hwy, Newton, NC 28658.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Fuad Akil Rihani

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Dee Hunt

3 August 2020

I am so sad to hear of Mr. Rihani’s passing. I had the great pleasure and fortune of meeting this family (through John, school, and sports) when I was a kid. I remember Mr. Rihani’s infectious smile and words of encouragement. I’ve met a lot of people in my life, but there’s only ONE Fuad Rihani. What a legacy he leaves behind.
God keep you, Rihani family, forever in His care.
-Dee Hunt and Family

Joni Apple

9 July 2020

Fuad was a special friend and a joy to know. He was such a people person: outgoing, caring and always the gentleman. Our many family get togethers sharing in our children’s and grand girl’s lives will always be special memories of joy, laughter and love that none of us will ever forget. We look forward to the day when we are together again with Jesus right there with us! Love you Fuad!

Renea Grigg

1 July 2020

I’m saddened to hear of Fuad’s passing. He was an incredible person! I haven’t seen him since they moved to Cary but I have very fond memories of him and Kathy. He was a very interesting man to speak with and his and Kathy’s love story was so sweet! I always looked forward to his travel stories and updates of his children !
Kathy and family please know your in my thoughts & prayers during this time!
Renea from
Dr Troutman’s Hickory NC

DEEB ALRIHANI

30 June 2020

Rest in Peace Dr. Fuad

My deepest condolences on the loss of our beloved Dr. Fuad

He resembled the epitome of generosity and care , He helped me in my life by his acts and words.

We are deeply saddened by his loss

May god rest his soul in peace and bless his Family

Deeb Yacoub Rihani and Family

Omar Atif RIHANI

29 June 2020

RIP uncle Fuad🙏

When you meet someone special in your life, you will remember all the details everytime you see him and talk to him .. Dr. Fuad was a unique character, passionate, caring, knowledgeable and humble. Everytime I met him I used to feel the pride and get touched by his words and wisdom which turn out to be true guidelines towards success and self satisfaction.
He is a big loss to the family and will be remembered always.

Omar A. RIHANI and family

Ramzi Rihani

28 June 2020

Uncle Fuad was a very loving person. I had the pleasure of being his nephew. 56 years ago, I remember when we were in Amman, uncle Fuad walked towards me with a brand new bike that he had bought for me. I was ecstatic since it was my first bike! This is one of my fondest childhood memories. My mother (his sister) was very close to him and always talked about her very kind and successful brother. I'll always remember his contagious laugh and his positive demeanor. He will be truly missed.

Nizar Abu-Jaber

28 June 2020

I am truly sad to hear of Dr. Fuad's passing. Although we have been out of touch for a long time, I still have fond memories of him and the family since he encouraged me to attend NC State in the 1980's and facilitated my attendance. At that time, it was a privilege to get to know his wonderful family and to enjoy the hospitality that is sorely needed when one is young and away from his own family. The meaning of such hospitality was especially true in the holidays, when I often visited Hickory at his kind invitation.

Sincere and warm condolences to Kathy, Elizabeth, Christen and John.

Lynn B. Spees

28 June 2020

As the pediatrician for the Rihani children many years ago, I was glad to have had a connection with this marvelous family. My condolences for the loss of this great man.

Fadia Rihani

28 June 2020

I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories.
May your soul Rest In Peace amo Fouad, you gonna be truly missed
You will always be in our hearts ♥️
RIP 🙏

Ahed el Rihani and family

Faris AlRihani

28 June 2020

I had met Dr. Fuad a few times through AlRihani family gatherings in Jordan but it was till I met him in Jeddha in Saudi Arabia the things I learned from him, how to look for the important issues and don't give the irrelevant ditalies much effort in work and life.
Keep loving and caring for family and friends should be always a priority.
never lose faith in our Lord.
All may be things that we thought we knew but the experiences he shared with me give new perspectives to these things that make me like I had no idea before about their importance

Now I know that I am better person becouse of him
I, my family will always remember you
Faris Eid Rihani and Family

FROM THE FAMILY

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