Dear Al-Bireh Friends and Family,
On Thursday, June 11, 2020, the Al Bireh Community lost our friend Hamed Ahmad Sarsour (Abu Ashraf). Hamed, whose given name was Abdel Hamid, was born on November 19, 1948, and was the oldest child of Ahmad and Farha Sarsour. He finished high school in Al-Bireh and accepted a position as a substitute teacher in the neighboring town of Beitin. He moved to the USA around 1970, attending Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and chemistry around 1974. He then took a position working as a geoscientist in Maryland for one year, in which he was responsible for checking the suitability of plots of land for planned government buildings. He then decided to go into business and moved to the Bailey’s Crossroads area in Falls Church in Northern Virginia. There, he along with his family-owned and operated the famous Steak ’N A Sack Restaurant, which also had a section for Middle Eastern groceries. Steak ’N A Sack was a gathering place for many, including the Palestinian-American community in the Washington, DC area, and visitors from out of the area. During the years that Hamed owned the restaurant, he met many people, leading to the development of many lifelong friendships.
In 1975 Hamed married the late Nawal Ottallah, who was from the Hamayel clan of Al-Bireh, and they established their home in Annandale, Virginia. In 1976 their first child, Ashraf, was born, and the couple would have three more children: Ahmad, Maisa, and Hana. Hamed left the restaurant business in the early 1990s, and in 1994 opened another business, also in the Bailey’s Crossroads area. This was a small convenience store called Lacey Grocery. Hamed enjoyed interacting with the local community and providing friendly support to the neighborhood.
Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, Hamed helped run the Washington DC Al-Bireh Society Chapter. He held terms as President of the Washington Chapter and served as Vice President of the National Al-Bireh Society. In particular, he was the DC Chapter President in 2003 and led the highly successful 2003 Al-Bireh Society National Convention which was held in Crystal City, Virginia. Hamed’s dedication and service to the Al-Bireh Society were exemplary, and his wisdom, leadership and friendly attitude were much appreciated by the Society membership.
Hamed decided to retire at the end of 2009, at which time he sold his business. He was a very humble, helpful and friendly person, loved dearly by his family and community. He passed away on June 11, 2020 from complications related to COVID-19, after a battle with Alzheimer’s over several years. Hamed is survived by his father Ahmad Mohammad Sarsour (Abu Hamed), sons Ashraf and Ahmad, daughters Maisa and Hana, and 11 grandchildren. Hamed was laid to rest at National Memorial Park in Falls Church on Saturday, June 13, 2020, in a funeral attended by many of his family and friends.
Allah yerhamo. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’oon.