Saleeby-Saliba Association of Families Saleeby-Saliba Association of Families Saleeby-Saliba Association of Families
Saleeby-Saliba Association of Families

Mrs. Helen Mae Saleeba Gary

May 19, 1932 - July 18, 2012



Helen Mae Saleeba Gary

Helen Mae Saleeba Gary, my sister, was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, on May 19, 1932. She was the daughter of David Farris Saleeba, who was born in Arna, a village outside of Damascus, Syria; and Mary Saleeby Saleeba, who was born in Souk El Gharb, Lebanon, which is a village in the mountains about 20 minutes from Beirut. She lived with her parents in Ohio until her parents moved to Washington, DC. She remained there until 1940 when her father moved his oriental rug and art linen business to Harrisburg, Pa; however, needing a more central location for his business, she, her siblings and parents then moved to Richmond, Va. in 1942, where she grew up. It was here that she and her siblings along with their parents became active members of the church where she was a member of the choir and youth fellowship. This participation in the church from an early age sowed a deep appreciation of God in her and taught her the importance of love and respect for her fellow man as well as her love for music.

As time went on, Helen and her husband Aubrey Gary settled in Bryson City, NC, where they became an integral part of the community. Through the years Helen became known to everyone in this community for the love and compassion that she exuded, and the humility that she always exhibited, which brought to my mind the Beatitudes, especially the following: “Blessed are the poor in spirit <which means humble in spirit>, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”, and “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”, which exemplifies docility of spirit, even in the face of adversity and hardship. A person that is meek is one that also exhibits self-control. This in no uncertain terms describes my meek, loving and docile sister, who loved to counsel others and ‘adopt’ the children of God when they needed love and understanding. Many children as well as adults came to love Helen in Bryson City where the children were now growing up and bringing their children to Helen for her to ‘adopt’. In the facility where she resided she became the shining sun that brought love and understanding into all the residents’ lives as well as the ones who attended her.

1st Corinthians 13: 11-13 states: “It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man, my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things. In the same way we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at His reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see Him in His completeness, face to face. Now, all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now. There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

Helen, the haze and blurriness is now lifted for you, and, now you, a lady of love, can see everything in your present Home, not made with Hands, but Eternal in the Heavens. You leave behind on this earth many who are the better for having known you and have been touched by your love, as you have fulfilled your earthly life in the grand tradition of the Saleeba name, which when translated means “Crusader for the Cause of Christianity”.
Job well done, my sister! I wish you Godspeed on your final journey home.          With All My Love…David, Jr.

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