Jacob "Jack" Araj, M.D.
Jacob Saba Hanna Araj, M.D., "Jack", age 96 died on December 15, 2018, at home in White County, Georgia, surrounded by his loving family.
Jack, a retired radiologist, was born to Saba Hanna Jacob and Hanneh (Zummar) Araj on October 17, 1922, in Beit Jala, Palestine. He came from a well-known local Christian family and was one of 8 children. During his teenage years, Jack attended and graduated from Bishop Gobat, a British boarding school in Jerusalem. Jack earned his undergraduate and medical degree (1947) at the American University of Beirut (A.U.B.), Lebanon. He then came to the United States to complete a residency in radiology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, graduating and earning an American Board of Radiology Certificate in 1951.
Jack first practiced radiology at St. Francis Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. It was there that he met his wife, Thelma Victoria Merricks (Vicki), who had immigrated to the United States from Liverpool, England, after the end of World War II. During the Korean War, Jack, a Captain in the United States Air Force, was stationed at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas. Following his military service completed in 1957, he practiced medicine for a brief time in Lake Worth, Florida before relocating to Toledo, Ohio. There he was appointed Chief of Radiology at Maumee Valley Hospital. In addition, he was named an Associate Professor, and served on the faculty, at the newly formed Medical College of Ohio, now the Medical University of Toledo. He was a member of the American Medical Association (A.M.A.) and the American College of Radiology (A.C.R.). Jack was awarded the prestigious Fellow from A.C.R., an honor that is only awarded to 10 percent of the membership for demonstrating a history of service to the College, organized radiology, teaching, and research.
During the 1950s and early 1960s, his family grew to include daughter Deborah Anne, son Jeffrey Scott and daughter Jennifer Lynn. Jack often took his children with him on Saturday morning rounds so that they would
develop an understanding of his profession. Jeffrey followed his father's footsteps and became a radiologist, practicing today in Florida. Jack and his family thrived in Toledo, as a well-respected physician, professor and an overall great guy with a witty sense of humor. He was extremely proud of his Palestinian heritage and he became part of Toledo's Middle Eastern community, forming lasting friendships. Jack truly valued education, and helped his many nieces and nephews come to the United States for college and advanced degrees. Jack was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal in Maumee, where he served in various capacities of church life. Jack took up golf at the age of 40, a game which he grew to love as a longtime member of the Heatherdowns Country Club. With his exacting nature, and a photographic memory, Jack also became an excellent bridge player in his spare time. He enjoyed both pastimes well into his 90s.
Jack practiced radiology for over 30 years in the greater Toledo area, also serving the communities of Bowling Green and Napoleon. In 1986, he and his second wife June Harper Douglas, a Canadian nurse, retired to Georgia to be closer to family. There he enjoyed making new friendships, golfing, traveling, reading and playing bridge.
In addition to his wife June of 36 years, Jack is survived by his children, Deborah Davis (Randall), of Cartersville, Georgia; Jeffrey (Christina), of Merritt Island, Florida, and Jennifer Speake (Patrick), of Salem, South Carolina, and by June's children: Catherine Toth (Edward), of Peachtree City, Georgia; James Douglas of Ontario, Canada, and grandchildren: Bethany Davis, Amelia Davis Kouznetsov, Jacob Araj, Alycia Araj Perkins, Victoria Araj, Jeffrey Logan Araj, Jackson Speake, Daniel Speake, Andrew Speake, Sydney Toth Fleider and Alec Toth and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his extended family, including two siblings, brother Elias Larach and sister Dalal Abedrabbo Larach, numerous nieces and nephews scattered throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
A memorial service officiated by Reverend Robert W. Prim and a celebration of Jack's life will be held at the Nacoochee Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations made to: Nacoochee Presbyterian Church, 260 Highway 255 North, Sautee Nacoochee, GA 30571 or to the American University of Beirut (A.U.B.), Church Street Station, Post Office Box 4011, New York, NY 10277.