Fred A. Bostany
November 14, 1925 – June 12, 2018
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9 In the prime of his youth, Fred Bostany stood just under five and a half feet tall, but he was a giant of a man. His realm of influence and his legacy of faith, love, and family will live on forever in the hearts and minds of his 48 direct descendants: eight children, 21 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and in all the generations of family yet to come who will hear about him from us. But the extent of this amazing man's reach is far greater and far wider than his large extended family, his church community, and his legions of friends. Every single person who ever came in contact with this remarkable man, whether for a moment or a lifetime, was better for crossing paths with him, was blessed by his presence, was buoyed by his uplifting spirit, and was immediately enhanced for knowing him. He expressed love, gratitude and thanks in every single gesture and action, every single day of his life. On Monday night, he said a resounding "amen" to his prayers, and on Tuesday morning, slipped away quietly and peacefully after one last restful night in his beloved home. He was 92 years old. Fred prayed every day of his life, starting with the Rosary at 6:00 a.m., and never ate a meal without saying the blessing. He prayed for everyone but said special prayers for the safety of travelers. One of his greatest gifts was a natural and eternal optimism that automatically encouraged others simply by the way he spoke. He had compassion for people. He always looked for the good in them and in all situations. He was respectful and cheerful to everyone. His disappointments were few and short-lived, his regrets almost non-existent. He forgave many times over and never, ever held grudges. Fred lived by his word and his integrity was unblemished. He was a man of unbending principles and held the highest moral standards. He did not preach, but taught by example. People sought him out for advice, ideas, opinions, and most of all, for his wisdom. He made you want to please him. He made you want to do good things. He made you want to be a better person. Fred was the eldest of three first-generation American sons born in Birmingham to Lebanese immigrant parents, Shukry and Bahia (Elkourie) Bostany. During the Depression when Fred was only 12 years old, his father died as the result of a car accident. Fred became the "man of the house" for the next several years, taking on responsibilities that belied his age, helping his mother run their small family cafe in downtown Birmingham, and later working as a bicycle messenger boy for the railroad, pedaling 25 miles at night. Later still, as a bill of lading specialist for the railroad, he trained his phenomenal mind to memorize and never forget long strings of numbers, an ability he maintained his entire life. He could remember addresses, phone numbers, serial numbers, receipts, etc., from decades ago. His mind stayed sharp until the end. During World War II, Fred proudly served his country as a medic in the U. S. Army. He was at Okinawa when the war ended. Back in Birmingham, he became a private business owner, operating his 5 Points South grocery store, the Little Key Creamery until 1968. Later, Fred had decades-long careers working in menswear, at Parisian, and The Cambridge Shop. He was a top-notch salesman and won many awards during his long working life. He loved all his jobs and found great honor and nobility in work. He believed in and taught the value of hard work and thrift. Fred loved to connect people, to help with getting cars, jobs, houses, mechanics, food, plumbers, etc., and he had the connections to help. He was legendary for being known all over Birmingham, and for knowing someone almost anywhere he went. He was engaging and fun. He had great stories and told them with much relish and laughter. Fred was affectionately known as the "Mayor of Southside" for his selfless devotion to civic duty and his pride in community service. People called him to get things done, whether it was to fix a broken streetlight or a broken sidewalk. As an active member of the Glen Iris Neighborhood Association, he advocated specifically for Fire Station #7, for which he had a special fondness. Fred had a special affinity for hardworking firemen, paramedics, policemen and other law enforcement officers. He was so very, very proud of his family, the one he imagined as a young man, and the one he created with his dream girl from Illinois when he wooed her to Birmingham with his charm and good looks (he was strikingly handsome!) and promises of a good life. Fred and Harriet wed in 1951 and saw most of their dreams come true in 62 years of a blessed marriage. He thought he was the luckiest man in the world for all the blessings he enjoyed. He appreciated everything that he had, everything that was given to him and everything that was done for him. He never took anything for granted. Fred was proud to host literally thousands of people in his home and at his table. Besides regular family visits, and countless, numerous friends and acquaintances who stopped by, he was visited by priests, doctors, judges, bishops, firemen, policemen, artists, writers, musicians, city councilmen, and even Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin who paid a visit last New Year's Day to eat black-eyed peas with Fred. Even after becoming bedridden two years ago, Fred did not lose his zest for life. His last outing was in April for the St. Elias Food and Cultural Festival, which was dear to his heart and for which he made a special effort to attend. He was very proud of his Lebanese heritage and loved to participate in this event. That day, he was fittingly shown tremendous love and respect as a revered elder member of the Church. Fred's other lifelong affiliation was membership in the Cedars Phoenician Club. He had a stellar reputation among his peers and was held in the highest regard by them. This precious man lived day by day, and in his quiet, humble way, taught us how to live and how to give. He accepted his lot with grace and dignity. He was a selfless, devoted husband and father, a loyal, faithful friend, a dutiful, humble servant of God, and most of all, a peacemaker. Fred will forever be remembered as a man with the kindest, most generous, loving heart, the gentlest spirit, the sweetest, most beatific smile, and an openness to make everyone feel acknowledged, welcomed, comfortable, encouraged and loved. We don't know how to say goodbye to this special man, but we really don't have to since he will always be with us in spirit. We will honor his goodness and his legacy by holding him in our hearts as we go about our lives, living the way he taught us, spreading the love he so readily bestowed on us and sharing the joy and hope he left with us. Fred was predeceased by his parents, his stepdad Louis Kawark, his brothers Philip and Joe, his wife, Harriet, his infant son Anthony, and his son-in-law, Sam Wehby. Those of us left to cherish his precious memories are his children, Gary Bostany, Judy Zaidan (Tony,) Renee Singerman (Bob,) Dianne Blake (Richard,) Dolores Wehby, Yvonne Boehme, Danny Bostany (Pal,) JoAnne Hannon (Mark,) and all the many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family, friends and acquaintances who were so fortunate to share his life. He will be sadly, deeply missed by all, but never, ever forgotten. Visitation will be held Sunday evening 5-7 p.m. at St. Elias Maronite Church, 836 8th Street South, with Rosary and Incense Service beginning at 7:00 p.m. The Funeral Liturgy will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday at St. Elias, with burial following at Elmwood Cemetery. Chorbishop Richard Saad will be officiating. Our family is forever indebted to the exceptional team of caregivers who lovingly provided for Fred these last two years, allowing him to remain at home and maintain his dignity and quality of life.
- Visitation Sunday, June 17, 2018
- Funeral Liturgy Monday, June 18, 2018
Fred A. Bostany
June 14, 2018
Fred Bostany was one of the most influential people in my life over the past few years. He was one of the first people I met when I became the captain of the South Precinct in 2009. He was supportive and held me accountable. We had breakfast every Tuesday until he couldn’t get out anymore. He was a living history book, We never went anywhere without him seeing several people he knew. We talked regularly during difficult times and times of joy over the phone, at his kitchen table, and later at his bedside. He told amazing stories and never ended a conversation without reminding me that he was praying for me and asking about my family. He deeply cared for the city - especially its public servants. He was always supportive and never missed calling me every single holiday. Whether I was traveling, working too much, or just hadn’t been by, he always checked to see if I was ok. I miss him dearly. I am a better person having known him. May God bless is soul. Rest In Peace Mr. Bostany. I love you. ❤️