June 10, 1928 – May 11, 2020
Aiche Chamelly, 88
In the early hours of May 11, 2020, Mrs. Aiche Chamelly beloved mother, grandmother, sister, and community member transitioned from this earthly life, while next to her beloved grandchildren. Those who knew Aiche, family and friends, also knew her heart. That is where she held her people — her family, her many friends, her homeland, her values and her love. She was beloved and adored by all who knew her. Aiche’s wisdom, dignity, and love extended beyond borders, seas, and continents.
Aiche was born on June 10, 1928, in the Syrian town of Qatana, to Badawi and Negebi Arafat. She was the third of seven children: Mohamed, Ahmed, Adnan, Ghassan, Omar and Ghaeba. Aisha migrated to the United States in 1949 with her husband and settled in the Creston neighborhood on the northeast side of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is where she built a home and raised her family. Aiche and her late husband, Said Chamelly, raised three children, Camelia, Kameel and Mary. Aiche’s deepest pride and joy were her seven grandchildren, the light of her life, apples of her eyes, Leena and Ferris Odeh, Ilana and Alexandria Chamelly and Michael, Jenna, and William Ryan. Through them she developed her second most precious role as Tata (Grandmother). Aiche embodied cultural wisdom through her commitment to her family, loved ones, and values. She was a devoted auntie, sister, and friend to her many nieces, nephews, and friends who she saw as her own children. She was deeply principled and prioritized her family and community. She upheld traditions that brought loved ones together, such as preparing home cooked meals, and helping those who newly arrived in America and found her home, the Chamelly home, as their first home and sanctuary.
Many in the Grand Rapids community know Aiche as Mom. She was not only a mom, and tata (grandmother) to her grandchildren, but she was Ma, Mom, and Mrs. Chamelly to the greater community of Martha’s Vineyard and Eastown Deli. Aiche worked alongside her son, Kameel, where all who came to know her adored her subtle wit, her kind smile, and her heartwarming cooking, especially her hummos! She took pride in who she was, where she was from, and always lent a helping hand, a tender hearted ear, an understanding shoulder, and sage advice. She lived life fully with presence, exemplifying her name, Aiche, “the one who is alive.” She will be dearly missed.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
May 26, 2020
If ever anyone embodied the word “peace it was her, aunt Aiche. Our few Arab-American immigrant families were actually one family in Grand Rapids during my childhood. And the enduring memory of aunt Aiche I have is of a caring person who was always sympathetic and understanding. And even though distances have separated our families for many long years, she remains unforgettable in the minds and hearts of all who truly knew her.
Rest in eternal peace aunt Aiche.
And our condolences go out to Camellia, Kameel, and Mary.
From HIM we originate and to HIM is our return.
May 16, 2020
So saddened to hear. I smile when I think of Mrs. Chamlley, believe me from second grade going to school with Mary and even after graduating years later til she went to Chicago, if you saw her you felt like family, She always made you feel right at home, from cooking. (from scratch) talking to you, or watching TV being there for hours, it was always a pleasure to be in her company very sweet woman, always a smile she will me missed.