Jafari, Lafi I.

Jafari, Lafi I. October 2, 1943 - May 30, 2020 Dr. Lafi Ibrahim Jafari, born October 2, 1943, died in his home May 30, 2020. He was born in Ramleh, Palestine, lived his childhood in El-Bireh, Ramallah, Palestine. Lafi received his primary education from the American Friends School which educated refugee children. He excelled in athletics, particularly running, winning a medal at the Middle Eastern Olympics bestowed upon him by King Hussein of Jordan. He earned a scholarship to study in the United States at William Penn University, Oskaloosa, Iowa. Upon arriving in the U.S. at only age 16, Lafi worked many jobs to support himself. He worked one whole summer laying train track ties. With the help of William McMains, someone who became a father figure for Lafi, he began studies at William Penn, where he would later be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. Lafi cleaned the music building in exchange for living in the basement there. After graduating, he began work on a Master's Degree in Botany and received a PhD in Educational Administration at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. While enrolled in graduate school, Lafi worked for the local electrical utility as a meter reader. He met and married Marlene Springer in 1967 and subsequently had two sons. During these years he brought family from Palestine to study and begin their lives in the U.S. He moved to Omaha in 1970 and worked for the Omaha Opportunities Industrialization Center and a Creighton University Career Program. He became a naturalized citizen in 1973. He then started a world trade company, selling and transporting cars, tires and irrigation equipment to Saudi Arabia. In 1977 he formed MM & L International Corporation and began a large residential rental business, which he operated until his death. Lafi traveled the world, often by bicycle, was a charitable soul who gave back in large and small ways, never met an animal he didn't love, and was known as a "bigger-than-life" personality, captivating people with his laughter and his generosity, tossing $2 bills in his wake. Lafi is survived by former spouse and friend, Marlene Kerr (Frank); son, Majed Jafari of Washington, D.C.; son, Maher Jafari (Nisha), and grandson Oliver, of Omaha, NE; brother, Assaf Jafari of Ramallah, Palestine; nephew, Jafar Jafari (Heather) of Gaithersburg, MD; niece, Eman (Khalil) Jafari Shaheen of Annandale, VA; nephew, Mohammad Jafari (Michelle), Falls Church, VA; nephew, Dr. Ali Jafari, Buffalo, NY; niece, Angela Jafari of Virginia; longtime companion, MaryLou "Ted" Gruttemeyer of Omaha, NE; numerous relatives and friends throughout the country, and about a dozen cats. PRAYER SERVICE: 1pm Wednesday, June 10, 2020, at Forest Lawn. VISITATION to follow until 7pm. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please send donations to the Nebraska Humane Society or the Refugee Empowerment Center, Omaha. Forest Lawn Funeral Home 7909 Mormon Bridge Rd., Omaha, NE www.forestlawnomaha.com

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