Samia Saif, age 82 went to her heavenly home on August 2, 2018. Her devotion to her family and her unwavering faith in her Lord and Saviour supported her during many years of illness and through her entire life.
Samia was born to Mishriky and Lydia Habashy on September 23, 1935 in Balyana, Egypt. Samia was blessed to be part of a large family with seven other siblings. She is predeceased by Makram Hayat (Edward), Labib (Patsy)and Affaf and leaves behind three siblings: Safwat (Pearl), Wadia (Boushra) and Baha (Margaret). Her father, Mishriky, was a businessman in Balyana and her mother, Lydia, was a housewife and busy homemaker.
Samia attended the American School for Girls in Asyut and then went on to the American College for Girls in Cairo. Her adventurous spirit took her out of the country to the United States where she continued her studies abroad at the University of Tennessee where she majored in Home Economics and English. She carried on to Beria Seminary in Kentucky and finally concluded her studies in Christian education at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Samia later returned to Egypt where she worked with a local Christian social services organization. Her focus was in supporting women in rural areas and villages by helping them manage their households and family needs, including child-rearing. She was actively involved in church ministry and was engaged in youth ministries, teaching Sunday School, prayer ministries and singing in the choir.
She met her husband, Albert, through their involvement in the church choir. They had a two-year courtship leading to their marriage on September 28, 1961. That was the beginning of an enduring and wonderful adventure; one that seldom saw them apart. They made their home in Alexandria where their son Samy was born on September 1, 1962. Just prior to the Six Day War in 1967, Samia and Albert made the decision to move to Canada. They settled in Toronto where they quickly became actively involved at Knox Presbyterian Church, which would become their church home and family for the next 51 years. Albert began his career as an Urban Planner with the City of Toronto where he would work for the next 29 years. Samia’s professional skills were put to great use in her capacity as a teacher at Branksome Hall. She remained there until shortly before the birth of their second child, Eva on September 26, 1973. Samia found much joy and fulfillment in being wife and mother and later added caregiver to her responsibilities as her elderly mother moved in to live with the family. Through all of this, church life and fellowship were pillars of the Saif household as all members of the family expanded their involvement at Knox Church and in other ministries including the Gideon’s and Campus Crusade for Christ. Albert and Samia had a tremendous heart for outreach, evangelism and exercised their gift of hospitality in support of these areas of ministry. There was seldom a Sunday dinner at the Saif household that did not include guests or newcomers.
The family grew with the addition of daughter-in-law, Sarah and son-in-law, John. Four grandsons (Ethan, Caleb, Joshua and Benjamin) and three grand daughters (Mikaela, Lauren, and Ashley,) followed. Samia would relish each moment she had to spend with them. Some of their fondest memories of their “Teta” are the sleepovers where they enjoyed one-on-one time with her and “Geddo”. She never missed an opportunity to celebrate their successes and encourage them through their challenges. Samia spent many hours in prayer for her grandchildren and encouraged them in their faith, even until her final days.
Albert and Samia had a very wide circle of friends. Closest and dearest among them were those with whom they shared a strong bond through prayer and Bible study. Albert and Samia would often refer to those prayer warriors as their extended family. They were so closely bound by their love and commitment to Jesus. Even in her latter years during extreme physical hardship and pain, Samia relished times with her prayer group. She considered it a privilege to study the Word of God and share those truths with others.
Samia had four great loves in her life: her husband Albert, her family, her friends and above all else, her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. She modelled that commitment so consistently. She always trusted Jesus with her family and loved ones through joyful times and in challenging circumstances.
Samia did not consider herself anyone special. But to those of us who knew her, she was an extraordinary woman of faith. While she will be deeply missed, we rejoice in the certainty that she is at home with her Lord. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” – Psalm 116:15
A private family interment will take place on Thursday, August 9th followed by visitation from 7:00 – 9:00 pm at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home. A public service in celebration of Samia’s life will be held on Friday, August 10 at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home. Visitation will take place from 1:00 – 2:00pm followed by the service at 2:00pm. Reception to follow the service.
Samia served her Lord and her family with sacrificial love and will be missed for her caring generosity to many. The family expresses gratitude for the many expressions of kindness and love shown to us. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Gideon's.
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