SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sanaa Abourezk says her late husband hasn’t left.
“He’s still with me, actually,” she said. “I mean, we’re still in the house. His glasses, his books, his phone, everything’s still, I left everything the same … he’s still with me.”
Her husband Jim Abourezk represented South Dakotans in the U.S. House of Representatives and then the U.S. Senate in the 1970s. He passed away on his 92nd birthday in February.
“He has the sweetest, kindest heart ever, but his personality was big,” Sanaa Abourezk said. “So yes, we need to celebrate his big personality.”
So that’s exactly what’s going to happen on Sunday, May 28 at the Washington Pavilion in downtown Sioux Falls.
“We’ve been preparing just a list of speakers who we think would encompass my dad’s life and have some great stories and just memories to share,” Jim and Sanaa’s daughter Alya Abourezk said.
Alya Abourezk says her father was true to what made him unique.
“I really miss and kind of admire his strength and courage and just how unapologetically himself he was, and I think that’s something I really hold to and kind of just hope that I can emulate in some way,” Alya Abourezk said.
She saw the connections her father had with the community around him; now, his loved ones will celebrate that legacy at the upcoming public memorial.
“He made everyone feel like he had known them for 10-plus years,” Alya Abourezk said.
Sanaa says her late husband told her he will haunt her — yes, haunt her — if there is a long speech. Sanaa is the owner of Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean in Sioux Falls. Alya graduated from the city’s O’Gorman High School in 2014.