Obituary of Soheir "Sue" Girgis
Soheir Kamel Girgis (known to many as Sue).
Born March 15th, 1944, in Alexandria, Egypt, Sue unexpectedly passed away on January 6th, 2024 at 79 years of age. Although all who survive her feel it was too soon, she was always ready to meet her Maker. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 1 Timothy 4:7
Known for her deep and unwavering faith, her fierce loyalty, her love of family and absolute selflessness, Sue had a lasting impact on everyone she met.
Sue constantly balanced the deep desire to take risks and push boundaries while keeping herself and those around her grounded. At a young age of 16, she suffered the tragic loss of her mother Elaine’s passing and she assumed the responsibility of caring for her cherished younger siblings, her sister Hoda and her late brother Mimo. Sue was seemingly born to be the matriarch she eventually became to her extended family.
Sue always loved writing and was the youngest journalist for the largest newspaper in Egypt – Akhbar el-Yom. Sue earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Cairo and went on to receive a Masters in English Literature from Carleton University.
Sue’s career spun from journalism to teacher to Canadian Federal Government and culminated in her role as Chief Editor at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“RCMP”) till her retirement.
With her pioneering spirit, Sue was the first in her family to leave Egypt in 1967 and immigrate to Montreal, Canada. She later settled in Ottawa where she was blessed with two lovely daughters - Ameera (Girgis) Dunn and Nada Girgis.
She reveled in being a mother and her mission was to provide every opportunity for her kids to thrive. Her love of travel was imparted from an early age as the family lived and journeyed across Europe, South America, Africa, the Caribbean …but always coming home to Canada. She held a profound conviction that gaining insights from diverse cultures formed the bedrock of comprehending others, and this conviction manifested in her steadfast advocacy for newcomers to Canada.
Long lasting memories were made with her daughters on bucket-list trips like camping in the Amazon Rain Forest or hot air ballooning over the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Sue often reminisced about the special trips she was able to take with her late brother’s three children - Yasmine, Alex and Jonathan as they came of age. She was forever indebted to her sister-in-law, Coni, for enabling those cherished memories and sharing of her children so freely after the tragic loss of her brother Mimo at the age of 39.
Sue enjoyed the summers when her sister Hoda’s kids, Lyla and Adam, came to her from Connecticut to take part in “Camp Sue” which often included strawberry picking & jam making, swimming in the river and trying to avoid eating homemade upside-down pineapple cake.
Sue was talented at playing the accordion and a literary addict. She loved music, theater, opera and was often the life of the party. Sue loved the beach and sunsets. Her favourite beach was Siesta Key, FL where she spent many years with her extended family and enjoyed swimming and reading on the beach. She was definitely proud of doing her daily “40 laps”, which was a laughing joke in the family who would be relaxing on a lounge chair. Family meant everything to Sue, who recently attended a cruise that traversed the Adriatic sea with all her cousins. Sue even managed to find an accordion on board – and provided the best free entertainment.
Above all, one of her greatest joys in life was time spent with her granddaughter, Jasmine. “Teta” always brought fun to the simplest things as only grandmothers can… painting Easter eggs, dressing up, going for a bike ride or playing games. She imparted a love of gardening and often looked to the skies in awe of God’s majestic canvas. When asked to describe her grandmother, Jasmine said “my Teta is a diamond in the sky”.
Sue was very active in her church community, where she served on Boards and a beacon of spiritual leadership. Sue’s home was always described as “Central Station” or the “Sue Hotel”. She welcomed anyone, at any hour of the day – from family to friends to friends-of-friends and strangers-who-needed-friends. She lived her faith in the service of others.
But the best part of “Hotel Sue” was the spectacular cooking (and inevitable leftovers). Crème Caramel, Molokhaya, and Rice Pudding will forever be reminders of the love Sue so willingly shared across her table.
Sue was a woman of great faith, and it guided her everyday actions and decisions. Those around her knew her as a prayer warrior and someone who could recite a Biblical story or verse for any situation, offering not just words but serving as a source of strength, wisdom and comfort to those who sought her guidance. Her garage was always full with donation drop offs from friends and family that she would give to the many families she supported in the community. The students she taught throughout her Church groups described her as the person who had the most profound impact on their life.
Despite being pre-deceased by her younger brother Mimo Rassem, Sue leaves behind a large and loving family. She is survived by her husband Ramses (separated), strong and caring daughters Ameera and Nada, her son-in-law Steven Dunn, her granddaughter Jasmine, sister Hoda and her brother-in-law Faisal Bibi, sister-in-law Coni and her nephews and nieces – Lyla, Adam, Yasmine, Alex and Jonathan.
Friends and Family may call on Thursday, January 11th from 4-6 pm and Friday, January 12th from 12-2pm at Pinecrest Visitation Centre (2500 Baseline Road, Ottawa). The funeral service will be held at 10am on Saturday, January 13th at the Pinecrest Remembrance Chapel (2500 Baseline Road, Ottawa).
For those who wish to join virtually you may do so via this LINK
In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to a charity of your choice or to Sue’s favorites that include: Hope International and Samaritan’s Purse.