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Ayoub Jarrouj, 80, of South Whitehall passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Sunday September 11, 2022. Born in 1942 in the village of Amar al-Husn, Syria, and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, Ayoub emigrated to the United States at the age of 19.
He worked as a millwright foreman and supervisor for Bethlehem Steel for 30 years and, upon his retirement, opened Al Wadi Distributors Imports. He was an entrepreneur, influencer, activist and philanthropist, but his real passions were politics and working tirelessly for his community.
What struck many about Ayoub was how this well-traveled, influential, physical and mental giant of a man could make his way through war-torn areas, help negotiate a hostage release and meet with dignitaries around the world, yet never forget those who needed help back home.
In addition to physical strength, he also was a colorful character with a big heart. He served for many years as President of the Syrian Arab American Charity and along with his brother Radwan and the help of many in the community, coordinated outreach and food programs throughout the area. At his core, Ayoub was an unselfish man – a man of the people – whose goal was to never let anyone go without, never let anyone go hungry.
As he was once quoted in a newspaper article celebrating his lifelong accomplishments: "When you work from the heart, you can get a lot accomplished."
Ayoub was preceded in death by his father Fahad Jarrouj, mother Zakiyeh (Azar) Jarrouj, brothers Hizza Gerrouge and Radwan Jarrouj, and sisters Sonia Azar and Moutiaa Nehme. Those left to cherish his memory include wife Lila (Alexander) Jarrouj; children Lisa Vercusky of Allentown and Michael Jarrouj (and his wife, Kimberly) of Charleston, WV; and sisters Yesmine Koval, Lila Ishak of Allentown and Renee Elias of Pittsburgh. He is also survived by four grandchildren (Kadin, Tarek, Azim and Zara) all of Charleston.
A service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 1011 Catasauqua Ave., Allentown, PA, 18102. Visitation with the family will begin at 9 a.m. Interment following at Grandview Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church or the Syrian Arab American Charity, 608 ½ North Second St., Allentown, PA, 18101. Arrangements by Nicos C. Elias Funeral Home, Allentown.