Brooklyn, NY, meets Spring Valley, IL
Published by Nicole Christine Medawar-Wiltse on Facebook 7.31.2018
Kenneth and Sadie
Written by Anysia Medawar
From the beginning, my mother and father, Kenneth Ziady & Sadie Abraham, were, what you might call, “star-crossed lovers.” Dad was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in March 1908; and Mom was born in Spring Valley, IL, in May 1908. Both Ken and Sadie were the children of immigrants from Lebanon—Mary & George Ziady and Sam & Emma Abraham. Dad came from Lawrence, Massachusetts, to Brooklyn, New York—his favorite city. Dad was raised by his mother along with his three sisters—Alice,Agnes, and Pauline—since his father passed on at an early age. Teita Ziady was an expert seamstress and designer.
Mom was born and raised in Spring Valley along with her sisters Sophie, Elizabeth, and Mary, and their two brothers, Henry and Louis.
Father Seraphim Nassar was the pastor of St. George here in Spring Valley. He knew the Ziady clan from the time when he served as pastor
of St. George in Lawrence, Massachusetts. On a visit to Brooklyn, Father Seraphim invited Dad to visit him in Spring Valley, and of
course Dad did just that. There he met Sadie and love at first sight ensued.
In 1935, they were the first couple to be married in St. George here in the Valley by Father Seraphim. Dad’s factory was behind Father Seraphim’s house on East Iowa Street, and Mom worked at Abraham’s clothing store; she loved retail and fashion and was charming and delightful as a salesperson. Mom and Dad were committed to the Church and to the parish of St. George, where they served for many years as chanters of all the services; Mom had a the gift of a beautiful voice and ability to chant the services with devotion and prayerfulness.
Joining them in singing the services and Liturgies were Sadie’s sisters Mary and Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s husband, Nick Forsa.
As for Dad, he had a great gift for reading and intoning the Sunday Epistles in English; he did this throughout his life; he especially loved
reading the Prophecy of Ezekiel on Great Holy Friday. All of the family members used their gifts for as long as they could in service to the
parish and the Lord. As St. Paul notes in his First Letter to the Corinthians: “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:5–6).
It was in the mid 1930s when Archbishop Antony (Bashir) made a decision to have the services and prayers of the Church translated
from Arabic into English. That translation was done by Father Seraphim along with Mom and her sisters. That book came into print in 1938,
and was Orthodox Prayer Book; it became known by its weight—The Five Pounder. Dad was involved in the distribution of the “Five Pounder,” traveling throughout the Archdiocese selling the first printing of the Orthodox Prayer Book to many parishes.
My sister Genie and I are extremely blessed to have had their love, their direction, and the model of their dedication to Orthodoxy in our
lives. As we celebrate this 100th anniversary of St. George, we, together, remember Ken and Sadie and are ever grateful for the blending of their spirits into the spirits of all those who “build up the body of Christ” through the sharing of their devotion and commitment.
MAKE YOUR LEGACY DONATION!
Make checks payable to:
St. George 100 Years
St. George Orthodox Church
Attention: Anysia Medawar
211 E. Minnesota Street, P.O. Box 121, Spring Valley, IL 61362
100 YEARS. 100 STORIES
We’d love to hear from you!
If you have memories to share of St. George Church or the “neighborhood,” Spring Valley, IL.; please scan pictures and email them with a brief story, description, etc., and we’ll publish them!
Beverly Malooley firstname.lastname@example.org