"Patriotic Arab Americans Making a Difference"

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George Hatab

US Navy

Name:         George Hatab
Rank:          Lieutenant Commander
Service:       US Navy
Billet:           World War II Veteran 

My dad, George Abou Hatab, was born in Brooklyn NY on Feb 9, 1918, the eldest son of Assad Abouhatab and Helaini Mouacdie, both from Damascus Syria. After high school Dad studied physical education at Savage college and then got a degree in history from Rutgers University. He joined the U.S. Navy in February of 1941, entering midshipman's school on the USS Prairie State in NY.  Dad was a communications officer and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He earned 2 stars in the European-African Theater. 

While in the service, Dad married Lila Mokarzel (December 1943) and was soon commissioned to Cambridge, MA to the Officers Training Program at Harvard University. Mom used to say their years in Cambridge were the best of their lives. Because my mom was the daughter of Salloum Mokarzel, the publisher of a respected Arabic language daily in NY, they had introductions to many of the leading Syrian and Lebanese families in the greater Boston area.  

Dad was honorably discharged from the Navy on November 15, 1945, and the couple settled in Brooklyn and started their family. My brother Lawrence was born in 1946 and I followed in 1949. Then we moved to New Jersey and three more Hatab kids were born: Anne (1951), Paul (1953) and John (1955).  Dad established a business in New York City, the George Hatab Company, which produced quality ladies lingere, a business which he ran as sole proprietor until the early 1980s. Dad was one of the five founders of St. Anthony's Orthodox Church in Cresskill, NJ which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. When not at work (he put in 12 hour days for as long as we can remember) he was active in civic life: coaching little league baseball and soccer and serving on the school board. He taught us love of our country and pride in our heritage, and personal responsibility above all. 

Dad died on June 30, 2005 and left behind a loving family of five children, 2 sons in law, 3 daughters in law and 12 grandchildren. May his memory be eternal.

Helen Samhan
Executive Director
Arab American Institute Foundation







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