Eli A Abssy
May 25, 1939 – April 8, 2018
Born in Beirut, Lebanon on May 25, 1939, Eli was raised in Beirut and Spring Valley Illinois and lived in Evanston (IL), Houston (TX), San Francisco (CA), Fort McMurray (Alberta, Canada), Kuwait City (Kuwait), Endicott (NY), Lincoln Park (NJ), Kincardine (Ontario, Canada), Scarborough (Ontario, Canada), Salwa (Kuwait), Jacksonville (FL), and Naples (FL) before settling in San Diego in 2009.
Eli studied chemical engineering at Northwestern University (Class of ’63) and worked in the petroleum industry building and maintaining oil refineries until returning to graduate school at the University of Toronto obtaining his M.B.A. with a concentration in Economics (Class of ’75). He continued to pursue higher education achieving his ABD (All But Dissertation) designation focusing on energy supply/demand dynamics. He returned to the petroleum industry working as a petroleum industry economist at consultants and oil companies in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) in Kuwait. From KNPC he shifted to pure finance roles at the Kuwait Investment Authority and the Gulf Investment Corporation up until the 1991 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Post-war he launched a consulting firm that sought to bring corporate finance education to the petroleum industry in the Arabian Gulf which he ran until retiring.
While Eli was an academic a heart and enjoyed the pursuit of knowledge he balanced that pursuit with a good dose of physical activity, soccer and basketball in his younger years, sailing in middle age and tennis in the last few decades. He found groups in Jacksonville, FL and most notably the Coronado Cays Wheezers and Geezers Tennis Group causing mischief in Coronado, CA.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Alma Ruth Abssy (Hendrich); sister Labibe Khouery of Beirut, Lebanon; sister Alice Absi of Beirut, Lebanon; sister Samira Chahine of Beirut, Lebanon, son Michael Abssy of Pasadena (CA), son Mark Abssy, his wife Alexis Abssy and grandchildren Miles and Spencer Abssy of Oradell (NJ).
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Saint Ephrem Maronite Catholic Church in Eli’s name. Donations can be made by contacting the Parish office.
Eli A Abssy
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July 15, 2018
From day one Eli treated me like his younger brother. Born in the same city, we pretty much had the same background and shared a common cultural heritage. We had a meeting of the minds and often understood one another automatically without uttering a word, such as in a particular incident at a restaurant which only Eli and I noticed, triggered an avalanche of uncontrollable laughter and tears to our eyes. I vividly remember this event because no one else had made me laugh that hard in decades.
During the thirty-five years that I have known him, Eli was consistently a gentleman, a man of his word, generous to everyone, kind to his friends, welcoming, caring for all his extended family, intelligent, unpretentious, understanding, unfailingly reliable and responsible.
Eli passionately cherished his family and was always doing whatever he could to contribute to his children's well being and success. This task was made easier with the strong help and support of soft voiced, always smiling, patient, loving and beautiful Jody whom he adored. I have never known a more coordinated and mutually committed husband and wife team.
Eli, I'm hoping to be with you again some day, that would be heavenly.
Tarek Sami Absi MD
June 22, 2018
Dear Michael and Mark, I am at a loss for words....your dad's passing is tremendously saddening though we all saw it coming. He was a great person and a wonderful friend. He will certainly be missed by everybody that knew him. These next few weeks and months will seem unbearable but these hard days will pass, too. My wife, Ghina, our daughters Elsa, Sarah and Celine hold Uncle Eli's memory in our hearts and in our prayers.
Samira, Alice and Labibe Samira Shaheen, Alice Abssy and Labibe Khouery
June 8, 2018
To Our Dear Brother, Eli
At the age of fifteen you left us for a new world and a new life. We missed you.
You grew up in the USA to become loving, protective and generous together with your loving wife, Jody, who was and still is supportive to her family and to us.
Eli, we will miss you again. You will always be in out hearts and prayers with your loving presence. Rest in peace, dear brother. Labibe, Alice and Samira
June 3, 2018
The story you sent of our friend is wonderful. The Wheezers and Geezers of the Coronado Cay Tennis Group can't thank you enough.
As my Irish grandmother always said every time I left her, "May the Good Lord Take a Liken to ye."
June 3, 2018
Thank you for sharing the very loving memorial of your Eli. He really was a super man. My sons, Jonathan, Matt, Patrick and Michael all agree. He was the best. Loving thoughts to all of you. Mick
June 3, 2018
I cannot find the words to express my sadness. Reading the story of Eli, I would be lucky to do half what he did even if I lived twice my life. I am sure he is busy up there finding places to go when we all join him. Eli and I were talking about getting together not long ago, and I would welcome the family to visit me here in Ojai. You would be most welcome.
June 3, 2018
We want to express to the family our deep condolences for the loss of our beloved Eli. May your heart and soul, my friends, find peace and comfort. Eli, you have gone from our sight, but never from our hearts. We are sharing your sorrow with love and friendship. Spiros and Vivian
May your memory be eternal.
June 3, 2018
Eli was a good person and a close friend I will always cherish the good times we spent together in Kuwait. Please accept my sincerest condolences for the passing away of Eli and convey my deep sympathies to Mark and Michael. May God rest his soul in peace.
June 2, 2018
I remember the pride of my father when he used to talk about Uncle Eli. I met with him in the early 90's, a loving, caring and guiding person whom you loved without an effort. I always remember his lovely, wide smile which comes from the depth of his heart, his generosity when I visited him and Jody in San Diego in 2006. Uncle Eli, we are proud of you.
We were hoping that you would be visiting us again in Beirut but God's will was different and time flew by. It is a painful truth to lose you. I recall the words of Khalil Gibran "Love knows its depth at the hour of separation." Rest in peace, Uncle Eli, rest in peace until our souls will meet again. You will always be in our hearts.
May 31, 2018
Remembering my husband
When I married Eli Abssy on October 19, 1963, my world expanded. He was a remarkable man whose life encompassed an incredible journey from his beloved home and family in Beirut through many lands and increasingly challenging careers. He was extremely hard working and always grateful for all the opportunities that came his way. His tireless intellectual curiosity led him into endless discoveries. Wherever we lived he left behind close friends who valued his counsel. He was a man of high principles. His life was celebrated in services around the globe. He was fiercely proud and protective of his family members. He strived to lead them into safe paths. His gift for loving and caring deeply was passed on to our two sons. We were blessed. He was delighted when his wry sense of humor brought smiles to faces. He traveled on April 8, 2018, and I am trying to cope with his departure. I feel very privileged to have shared fifty four years of marriage with him. I will miss him terribly.
Sharon and Carl Schrader
April 22, 2018
Good-bye, dear Eli. You leave us far too soon, but you leave us with many happy memories of our good times together. Always the gracious host of delicious dinners and interesting conversations, sharing stories and pictures of your travels, taking us on shopping trips for the freshest and best tasting treats, concern for our children and grandchildren as they were growing up, you were a man for all seasons, wise in so many ways. Godspeed dear cousin, as you now entertain angels. We will hold fond memories of our time with you.
Love from, Sharon and Carl Schrader
April 21, 2018
I have been honored to know Eli since we met at Shell Canada
in the early 80's. Eli was a wonderful presence who always treated
me as an equal even though I was younger and a woman amongst many engineers.
I loved his stories about the Middle East. How about the one about
stuffing foreigners into air conditioning ducts for safety during the Kuwait war.
Eli loved his family and was proud of his two sons, Michael and Mark.
I will miss Eli's wide open view of the world and his optimism.
May the wind always be at your back Eli!
April 18, 2018
I am Jody's cousin, and I visited Eli and Jody twice before his last illness. Eli always made sure I saw some of San Diego's sites, and we went on walks in the neighborhood. We had home-cooked meals together at the dining room table, and the food was always fresh and delicious. I'll remember Eli's courage and generosity.
April 16, 2018
Old Friends Never Die – They Just Bring Back Memories !
Our friendship with Jody and Eli began at Northwestern University, around 1958 or 1959. Gilu (Jody’s nickname for Joan) somehow met Jody, and they’ve remained close to this day. Some short time after that meeting, Gilu met Eli. When I went to graduate school there, I became friends with both Jody and Eli. Jody was Gilu’s Maid of Honor at our wedding in 1962, and we attended their wedding sometime around 1964.
Friends have commented on Eli’s love of good food. Some of them may not know that he was probably one of the early “ foodies.” Now, truth be told, Eli’s early interests were more on the level of “We’re more or less broke, and need a place to eat.” This led him to a bar in Chicago, that on certain evenings, offered a free table of what was probably supposed to be snacks, but to us, was dinner. Nothing very exotic; just salami, bologna, sliced cheese, and white bread. His “foodie” interest needed a bit more development.
This development occurred while we were still living and going to NU. One night, Eli had us over to dinner. He cooked Taboule, Hummus and a very delicious lamb and green bean stew that we don’t remember the name of. Subsequently he gave us expert instruction on making these dishes and we continue eating them to this day.—mostly in restaurants.
As Gilu recalls, his apartment was across the street from a bakery that had a specialty of making cakes for Bar Mitsvahs. Congregations from Southern Illinois would order them and have them shipped. Having six brothers, this is something she was very familiar with. I recall picking up of of these cakes, and driving it to West Frankfort for brother number 4!
He enjoyed all kinds of food, including sushi. Gilu remembers one evening in the North Park area of San Diego when we went to a sushi restaurant and he emphatically claimed “This is good stuff.” We had many wonderful meals at Italian restaurants in Little Italy (San Diego). One night he brought a great Lebanese wine, probably from the Bekka valley. It was wonderful and our first introduction to Lebanese wines.
Rest In Peace, Eli. The memories are alive and well ! You will always be in our hearts.
April 14, 2018
Eli and I were roommates at Northwestern University our senior year, graduating in 1963. Eli was a pleasure to room with, and we shared many good times together. Through him, I developed a strong interest in the Middle East, which became my life's work. I went on to get a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton and held a series of positions all focusing on the Middle East in teaching, the oil industry and the Department of State. I am grateful to Eli for giving me my direction in life. I was part of Eli and Jody's wedding, and we stayed in touch over the years. I especially liked the brief time when Eli lived in Naples. I wish he'd stayed longer. I had a very enjoyable visit with Eli and Jody after they moved to San Diego, going to many of the local sights. Eli always knew the best restaurants to go to. I will miss his wit and humor. Eli was always a pleasure to be with, and he left us much too soon. Goodbye, friend. I will miss you.
April 14, 2018
I first met Eli in 1982 when I was teaching with Jody. I remember Eli as a gracious host with a subtle sense of humour and always a twinkle in his eye.
I remember having dinner with Jody and Eli at their home in Scarborough. It was time to prepare taxes and I told Eli that I was frightened because I hadn't done my taxes in several years. Oh my! Mistake! What a talking to I received. He then walked me through getting my papers in order to bring them to a tax consultant. I've never missed having my taxes prepared since that time.
My last visit with Eli was three years ago in San Diego when a friend, Glenys and I visited. His vibrancy and determination to be well were so evident. Again his loving smile and welcome will always remain with me.
You will be sorely missed, dear Eli. Journey well!
April 13, 2018
We have many fond memories of Eli from the 25 years we were privileged to have the Abssy family as our next door neighbours. Eli was unique in many ways, always interesting, always most generous. One of our favourite, endearing memories of Eli is his insistence that all ingredients in his food be FRESH. A restaurant meal with him always began with his interviewing the server to determine the degree of freshness of the food before we placed the order. He was definitely a man with clear priorities.
We shall miss his presence in this world. Rest in peace, Eli.
David and Beverley Stone.