Paul Qaqundah

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1933 ~ 2020

QAQUNDAH, PAUL (BOULOS.) YOUSEF Beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle & compassionate physician passed peacefully Sept 10, 2020, surrounded by three generations of loved ones.

Paul was the second of seven children, born February 26, 1933, in Ramleh, Palestine to Yousef & Thuraya Qaqundah. He graduated from Al-Ahliyyah High School in Ramallah in 1952 as valedictorian of his class and earned a United Nations university scholarship. In 1960, he graduated from Ain Shams University, School of Medicine in Cairo, and served two years in the Jordanian Army. While there, he was the on-set physician for the movie Lawrence of Arabia while they filmed in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

When he completed his army service, he started his pediatric training at Birmingham Children's Hospital, England where he earned his Royal Diplomate of Child Health, University of London. In 1965, Paul met his love, Susan Suad Salib in Beirut, Lebanon, and married in October 1966. The couple moved to California in January 1967, where Paul started his Pediatrics Fellowship at UC Irvine, attaining his American Board of Pediatrics Diplomate then completed a Fellowship in Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology. In 1971, he joined Pediatric Care Medical Group in Huntington Beach, CA. He practiced pediatrics and allergy for 46 years. He served as Chairman of the Pediatric Dept. at Hoag and Fountain Valley Hospitals. He never turned away patients for financial reasons. A testament to his passion for pediatrics, he treated the grandchildren of many of his original patients before reluctantly retiring at the age of 84.

He was an accomplished doctor, researcher, diagnostician and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UCI who truly loved his patients, and his patients loved him. In spite of a very busy practice, Paul was involved with several organizations advocating for the health of children including OC American Academy of Pediatrics as Founding President and the California Society of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. He started the Breath Mobile Van to treat asthmatic children in Santa Ana, which later expanded to other cities, for which he was awarded a State of CA "Hero Award". He adopted Oak View School to treat children for more than 20 years. As a delegate to the CA Medical Association, he drafted many resolutions pushing for measures to promote the health of children, such as "Gun Safety for Children - Trigger Gun Law," "Universal Newborn Hearing Screening," "Nebulizer Treatment in Schools," "Bicycle Helmet" & others. Paul's greatest pride was his family.

He leaves behind his wife of 54 years Susan, five children [John (Regan), Joyce (Steve), Jenny, Michelle (Bruce), and Jimmy (Annie)]; nine grandchildren (Zoe, Yasmin, Alex, Chloe, Julia, Paul Jackson, Raffaello Boulos, Elias, and Soraya); and an entire community who love him dearly. Paul lived his motto: work hard, play hard, live to the fullest, love deeply and find ways to give back to the community.

Paul was inspired and an inspiration, truly larger than life. Sage counsel for countless and the life of the party, Dr. Paul will be missed by many. Funeral services can be streamed live on Thursday, Sept 17 at 10:00 am at: http://st-mark-church.org/streaming-services/ In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Paul's honor to: OC American Academy of Pediatrics, Paul Qaqundah Fund: https://www.aap-oc.org/support-us/ or mailed to: 5000 Campus Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660; or to St Mark Orthodox Church: http://st-mark-church.org/donate/ or mailed to: 17840 SkyPark Cr, Irvine CA 92614

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Tributes

Jimmy Qaqundah

My Dad lived an incredible life. He was born into some wealth, his dad owning a tile factory, olive and watermelon and other fruit groves. I always imagined him like the kid in Jumanji (original), the boss’s kid running around maybe a little too carefree. But the family soon lost everything, displaced to make room for a settler colonial project.

A refugee, my Dad went to work and never stopped. He prioritized education and family over everything else; he earned scholarships and traveled the world to become the best pediatrician ever - a job he loved so much he never wanted to stop. He served in 2 countries’ militaries that I know of, and saw action in at least one war. He worked on the set of Lawrence of Arabia and drank scotch with Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole. He started a mobile medical clinic for children in underserved neighborhoods, and he fought for state and nationwide policies to protect and promote the health of children. He gave his family everything after starting with nothing. If my Dad strived to do one thing, it was take care of people: as a son, a sibling, a father, a husband, a doctor, a friend, a colleague, and a stranger.

He made a deep impression on people and communities throughout his life. He truly was larger than life, and his marriage to my mom was a love story for the ages. In the end, he died surrounded by three generations of loved ones. A party wasn’t a party until my Dad got drunk and danced with a glass of scotch on his head. We’ll keep the party going for you, Dad. We love you.
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Joyce Qaqundah

My amazing dad passed away Thursday night. I’m happy he had a full life though it’s hard to know I can’t reach out to him for advice or just to hear him say “what’s up”?

Saying Paul Qaqundah lived life to the fullest is almost an understatement. His adventures would make a fascinating book as he was raised in Palestine, became a refugee at age 14, worked all through school, received a full scholarship for medical school and may I add was first in his class. He became the kind of doctor that I strive to emulate. He had so much confidence and knowledge well deserved as he was constantly reading and going to conferences. It’s obvious he was doing a great job when he literally was seeing the third generation of children. He was such an advocate for children -he was a longtime delegate to the CA Medical Association constantly writing resolutions for children’s health. He was one of the doctors who helped write the resolution that mandates bike helmets.

You’d think he was too busy for his family but I honestly hardly remember nights we didn’t have family dinner. I had the most fun childhood – we were always going on road trips exploring. He was afraid of nothing – can you imagine driving a camper throughout Europe with a family of seven? We truly were the Griswolds. My dad was strict trying to tame his 5 first generation American teenagers – we gave him hell. But he lifted us up when we made mistakes – I always knew who to call if I messed up. He never judged and help me learn from my mistakes. I love you dad – I can’t say it enough.

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Michelle Qaqundah

After an amazing and full life, my dad Paul Qaqundah passed away on September 10th. My dad was a phenomenon--full of life, joking and playful while being a scholar and the world's best pediatrician. He loved life and enjoyed every last drop of it.

He taught me early on to choose a path that I love--"it's not work if you love it, you'll wake up happy every morning to start your day." In fact, he retired only a couple of years ago, begging us not to pressure him to retire earlier, he just loved his patients.

He was passionate about his work, opening and building a thriving practice, performing studies on therapies he thought would benefit his patients, serving on the Board of the California Medical Association for many years passing many resolutions that benefited kids as well as opening mobile clinics to serve underprivileged youth.

My dad's story could fill a book. I always joked with him that he has lived so many lives. He went from being a wealthy kid in Palestine to a refugee with nothing. But he was never one to sit and do nothing. He sold pencils on the streets of Ramallah until he found a job sweeping the floors in a pharmacy. He showed his potential and was awarded a scholarship to go to medical school in Cairo. He did his pediatric fellowship in England and his allergy fellowship at UC Irvine and never left California.

He always taught me to live life, enjoy it! I remember the parties my parents would throw with a friend at the piano and everyone dancing. He was always the life of the party--the pinnacle of every party was when dad would dance with a glass of scotch on his head. And he could seriously get down without ever spilling a drop!

He loaded his wife and 5 kids into a camper and drove us all over this country--I don't know how many road trips we took growing up. They showed us everything and we tasted everything. Yella!! Canada and Mexico and Europe too!

My dad had the love affair of the century. He just celebrated his 50th anniversary with my mom, his queen. And he was the best dad. He prioritized education and pushed us to our potential. He gave more to me than anyone could expect and then some. He was always there and with the best advice. He had a way of cutting through all the bull and getting to the heart of it. I am a grown woman and still ask myself regularly "what would dad do?"

He was such a generous soul. He helped anyone, gave so much of himself without ever a thought or expectation. I can't imagine a world without him. He will be sorely missed by me, his family and his community. But I know he lives in many hearts. ❤️

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Jenny Qaqundah

Boulos my Baba was the most magnificent, the most inspired and inspiring man I am so blessed to have called father.

I am without words, really. I have been numb, unable to come up with words great enough to honor this man ..

So I will just say a bit about him. Boulos, my Baba, was everybody’s hero, the brightest heart. He was an activist, in the medical field and beyond, an advocate for his wife, for us, for all children and all Palestinians.

Myself, I had a bit of a wild past. But he never lost faith. He would find where I was traveling to and send $20 in an envelope to General Delivery. “Buy a toothbrush” was all a note would say.

He never lost faith but actually announced happily at my graduation “I didn’t think you would do it!”
And he loved to compliment me with, “Jenny, I’m so proud of you… you have such street smarts.” He looked at the best in everyone. With each of his kids, he thought of our gifts, called them up in us. What a man to aspire to! He was generous of heart and hand, even when in pain, his face would break into a wide smile when someone walked into a room.

I have called him my hero for much of my life.. it’s not just because i am his daughter.. countless others have said the same to me about him.

I am picturing him now, as he was a child, running through the gardens of his youth, picking green onions and radishes and eating them fresh out of the Earth. When he spoke of this time, his smile was bright. He will be the best guardian angel, for all of us and most especially my Mom, the woman he dedicated his life to. They had a passionate, dedicated and deep friendship, a devotion that all their kids would strive for in their own. “Every moment my Dad lived, probably since he met her, was for Mom,” said Jimmy today. How right he is. He loved my mother with his whole heart, showed each of his kids what kind of love is possible, what a great love affair a marriage could be. We have all looked for our spouse with their devotion in mind.

My Dad’s gusto for life led me to live a life more fully, he was the most wonderful role model I could ever have asked for. When anyone tells me I am like my Baba, my chest swells.. 10 minutes before he died, I felt Thuraya, his mother, and my Tata, close by.

The last gift he gave me was great. I have been terrified of losing him, not knowing how I could live in a world without him. When he was taking his last breaths, I realized he gave me the tools to live without him… the ability to carry on.
He was
husband to one (Suad )
father to few (5 of us)
grandfather to more (9)
and hero to all
how blessed we all are

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