Martha Issa Araj-Ayoub
June 14th, 1936 – October 29th, 2018
With hearts consoled in the Resurrection of Our Lord, we announce the passing into eternal life my Aunt(Khalti) Martha ArajAyoub. Aunt Martha was born in Ramallah, Palestine on June 14th, 1936. A devout Catholic, she was a beautiful soul who was filled with compassion and kindness. She immigrated to the United States in the late 50’s eventually settling in San Francisco as a single mom living in the Sunset District. She became a parishioner at St. John of God where she became an integral part of the church community. She also attended mass at St. Anne’s of the Sunset and St. Thomas More. She worked as a cashier at Park and Shop now Andronico’s near Golden Gate Park for over 3 decades and made many friends along the way. I recall the many sweet memories of visiting her at work which was only steps from St. Anne’s, the grammar school I attended in the early 70’s. She always had a smile on her face and her customers loved her and knew her on a first name basis. She was full of pride yet lived simply and never sugar-coated her words. Her primary aim was to make sure she could provide the very best for her son Joseph FredrickAyoub who was a graduate of St. Anne’s and Riordan High School and who currently lives in the state of Washington with his wife Tammy. Martha was a kind and compassionate soul who always tried to bring out the best in people. She was the consummate aunt who never missed a niece’s or nephew’s birthday, baptism, Holy Communion, confirmation or marriage. She loved children and always engaged in genuine conversation with them, not small talk or cliché. She traveled several times to Palestine and visited Haifa, Yafa, Nazareth, and Jerusalem. She loved the small Palestinian villages in the West Bank especially during the olive harvest season. Since the early 70’s, she championed hard to bring to the forefront the plight of the Palestinian people. She tirelessly highlighted the Palestinian cause and legitimate struggle for freedom and self-determination by organizing awareness events and fundraisers at her church. She did this during a time when it was considered taboo to engage in any conversation that portrayed the Palestinians in a positive light but that never deterred her. She eventually established with the help of St. John of God a foundation called “Voices From The West”. This was a non-profit foundation created to raise money to help impoverished Palestinians living in the Holy Land. This was her crowning achievement and she quietly relished in the joy of knowing that her tenacity and hard work materialized into something very tangible for people half way across the world. She loved dearly all her siblings, nieces and nephews and became God mother to many, including myself. She was an avid Archbishop Riordan High School supporter who proudly and frequently wore the “RIORDAN” emblazoned purple and gold scarf. She was quite trusted in the Bay Area ArabAmerican community and as a result was often asked to step in as an honest arbiter to settle disputes. She was a fighter, always provoking the best out of people, always keeping things real, always looking for ways to help others who were less fortunate than her regardless of whatever setbacks she might have had in her own personal life……..she was a Saint! She touched many people from all walks of life and she treated everyone with dignity and respect. She taught me a lot about life and how people can battle for goodness despite the obstacles they may face .... she had heart. Martha was the daughter of Issa Jiries Araj and Mariam (Totah) Araj from Ramallah, Palestine. Her siblings were the late Nahiel Nazzal(Elias) of San Francisco, the late George Issa Araj(Norma, Louisa) of Ramallah, Palestine, the late Alice Za’rour(Hanna) of San Francisco, Fadwa Ajluni(Sabri) of San Jose, Michael Alaraj(Suhaila) of Castro Valley, and Victoria Naser(Ibrahim) of San Francisco. Aunt Martha died peacefully in her sunset district home of over 40 years surrounded by loving family.
Khalti, I love you beyond words. Thank you for always being there for me. I’ll never forget you! Rest in Power.
“Allah Yerhamik Khalti Martha”
Eternal Rest Grant Unto her, O Lord. And Let perpetual light Shine Upon Her. May she rest in peace, Amen!
Friends may visit on Monday, November 5th from 6pm and are invited to attend the Vigil Service at 7pm. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 6th at 11am all at St Thomas More Church, 1300 Junipero Serra Blvd, SF. Burial to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma
Food of Mercy will follow the burial at the Basque Cultural Center, 599 Railroad Avenue, South San Francisco.