Wadie Najm is my brother.
Many people knew and loved Dr Najm. Many people knew him as a caring, patient, intelligent scientist, teacher, professor, mentor, physician and colleague. I knew him as my brother. He had all the characteristics, personal qualities and skills that those who knew him attributed to him, but he was much more than that to me and to my sisters. He was much more than that to Liz.
Wadie lived up to his name – in Arabic, “Wadie” means Gentle! and he certainly was that. Mom and Dad must have known the type and quality of the man he will be when they named him. Wadie was no angel growing up. I have many memories of the normal stuff brothers live through – fights, teasing, arguments – but I also have many more memories of him as the example and the person I looked up to. I recall seeing him with his friends in high-school and looking up to them as the “cool group”. I remember the frustrations and challenges he faced in those years and his years in college, but I also remember his commitment and willingness to step up in the difficult situations. I respected him and admired his character, his integrity, his bravery and his intellectual pursuit.
I regret that Wadie and I did not spend more time together growing up. The 5 years difference meant that he moved away to college while I was entering my teen years. Those were difficult times in Lebanon but they did not hold Wadie back. When things did not go as planned, he pursued alternative plans. He was driven to be what he became and to pursue, what I believe, the path God had set before him. Along the way, he touched and influenced and changed numerous lives — to the better!
You can find Wadie’s professional resume and curriculum vitae which is full of his professional accomplishments, recognitions and achievements. It is a testament of Wadie’s singular passion to excel at what he loved. A testament of the drive our father instilled in us and helped to nurture in our lives. Wadie’s personal resume is written on the hearts and minds of all of us who loved him and shared life with him. Wadie is known and loved by many. He did not work at it – he was just himself; a gentle, sweet, unassuming, intelligent, fun, and loving man. The stories we share of him, the pranks, the jokes, the escapades, the tender moments, the highs and the lows, paint a picture of the man, the son, the brother, the husband, the co-worker, the friend, the advisor, the partner he is. How does one summarize the life and legacy of someone like that in a paragraph, a page, a book or even books! You can’t and you don’t. But in the hearts and minds of those who knew him, and were touched by him, Wadie will always be remembered and celebrated as the person who made a difference and left an indelible imprint of a gentle hand on many hearts.
Wadie left us too early for any of us! He lives on in the hearts of all of us who love him. His life is celebrated by his devoted wife and life partner Lizbeth Najm. Wadie’s Mother Alice Najm, his sisters Liela Carbunari and Randa Simaan and myself Ramzi Najm join Liz in celebrating Wadie’s life. Wadie also enriched in numerous ways the lives of our Spouses, Armand Carbunari, Toufic Simaan, and LuAnn Najm and our children Romulus, Dorian and Augustine Carbunari; Samer, Angela, Chris and Eli Simaan; and Nicole Mednick and Brittany Rice. He lives on through us.
August 12, 1953- September 16, 2014.
Per his request, in lieu of flowers, please send a donation to The Wadie Najm Fund for Education in Integrated Medicine, Office of Donor Relations, 100 Theory Drive, Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92617-3083.