Jameel “Jimmy” Saad
written by son, Jeffery Saad
Seven year old Jameel “Jimmy” Saad emigrated from Rashya, Lebanon in 1907 with his adoptive mother and her son Sam. Upon arriving in the U.S.A., the three traveled to Chicago. Jimmy decided to make the four day trek to Spring Valley to live with his brother Habib “Bosco” his sister Katherine, her husband Sam, and daughter Rebecca.
Not much is known about Jimmy during the years between 1907 until his marriage to Agnes Ziady . In 1939 he became smitten with a young lady visiting her brother Kenneth Ziady in Spring Valley. With the urging from Fr. Nassar, Jim traveled to Brooklyn with his brother Bosco and future brother in law Ken Ziady, who would give her away in marriage. Three years later she gave birth to her son Jeffrey, four years later came Barbara, and four years after another daughter Pamela.
Jimmy’s passions consisted of the Chicago White Sox, his three Indian motorcycles, hunting, and his underlying loyalty and passion for the Republican Party.
He became a preeminent barber in Spring Valley. Saturday was a big day in Spring valley when farmers would come to town and there were band concerts and shopping.
I can still see dad waving his razor in mid-air with a frightened customer in the chair while dad bemoaned Taft’s loss to Eisenhower!
He was a major fund raiser for Everett Dirksen and Bob Michael. He was rewarded by becoming the Sargent of Arms at the Illinois Senate and assigned game warden of Bureau County. On Thursdays, his day off, he would go to Saint Margaret’s hospital to cut hair and shave patients free of charge.
Dad passed away at age 56 leaving behind mom to raise and make sure the children ages 14, 10, and 6 were taken care of. Teta Mary Ziady (“Teta” means Grandma in Arabic) despite a stroke moved to Spring Valley to help mom. Mom sold bread and worked in the cafeteria in the Elementary School to feed the family. We received moral support during these time from Uncle Ken Ziady and Nick Forsa Sr.
Those were difficult times but one thing was constant, Saint George Church. It was a major source of spiritual and social life. All of the parish would attend the dinners, bake sales and pancake breakfasts. Sundays ALWAYS included going to church.
I can still hear my Aunt Sadie Ziady and her sisters Mary Bashir and Elizabeth Forsa leading the beautiful choir and my Uncle Ken Ziady, with his Brooklyn accent, reading the Epistle.
That got us through the tough times. Mom (Agnes), continued to be very active in the church with her dear friends, Amelia Malooley, Elsie Kaleel, Dorothy Darwish, Nellie Jacobs, and many many more. Eventually Mom moved her family back east to start a business in which she was very successful and lived close to her children.
Saint George Church, Spring Valley, Illinois will always be a wonderful memory as it changed our lives morally and spiritually.
Jimmy & Agnes Saad’s Children:
Barbara, Jeffery, & Pamela