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Joseph R. Khoury
August 15, 1932 ~ January 22, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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Joseph Raphael Khoury, 91, of Somerset, NJ, died peacefully from heart failure on January 22, 2024, under the care of hospice at St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ surrounded by family.
Joe was born on August 15, 1932 in Alexandretta, Syria (present day Iskenderun, Turkey). He was raised there until the Turkish expulsion of Christian Arabs. He then lived in both Beirut, Lebanon and Damascus, Syria with parents and grandparents. Joe dreamt of going to the USA, and at the age of 24 he said good-bye to his family and boarded a ship to Caracas, Venezuela. He eventually made it to the USA at 26. Joe met his wife, Lillian Kattak, in Paterson, New Jersey, and they were married on April 26, 1959. They settled in Clifton, NJ and raised their two sons there and enjoyed family time with their many Kattak relatives.
Joe was a true craftsman, a humanitarian, a devoted family man, and a faithful Christian. He was able to converse in several languages. In Damascus, he worked in carpentry and also for the power company, where he once plunged the city into darkness, shorting out power lines by accident on his lunch break with a boomerang he made. He owned a dental laboratory in Wyckoff in the 1960s, followed by a career as a model maker for architect, I.M. Pei, where he was involved in many famous projects, including the JFK Library and the Louvre Pyramid. He followed his truest calling in the 1990s when he received his massage therapy license and opened Back to Life Therapeutic Massage in Woodland Park. He passionately cared for his clients, and was known for offering friendly words of encouragement to each, often traveling to their homes and refusing payment when he saw the need.
Joe loved to tell many interesting stories of his life about growing up in Syria and Lebanon, his time in Venezuela, spending time with his grandchildren, and so much more. His friends and family were often entertained by Joe’s antics, because he loved to make people laugh. But, as he often liked to remind us, he “...never made fun of anybody.”
Joseph was preceded in death by his wife Lillian, his father, Raphael Khoury, his mother Eva (Francis), his stepmother Haifa, and his brothers Nicolas and Ibrahim.
Joe is survived by his two sons, Eugene (Joy) Khoury, and Francis (Kristi Reed) Khoury, his three sisters, Ramza, Mariana and Marcelle, his grandchildren, Eva and Benjamin, step-grandchildren David (Sage Macklay), Evan and Collin Nadolsky, step-great-granddaughter Clover Macdolsky, and several beloved nieces and nephews.