If the length of our lives were measured in units of authenticity and joy, Sherif Mohamed El Sayed lived a long, full life. He packed a lot of adventures into his 60 years on this Earth. He started his final journey on Sunday October 20th 2019, and although he is an impatient man he is also a Middle Eastern man and as customary in most Middle Eastern cultures it took him a few days to bid his final farewell on Tuesday October 22nd 2019 in Dallas, Texas. As his last offering, Sherif helped others in need by giving them a chance to do what he loved the most, live.
I can still hear his Arabic accent definitively concluding lengthy stories by saying, “Life is-a choices.” Every moment alive presents itself with the opportunity to make a choice that leads you through its winding paths. Many times our choices are based off of other’s expectations and comfort, but not him. His choices were his own, no time wasted on norms and doing what was expected.
Born on January 24th, 1959 in Cairo, Egypt, Sherif was always a free spirit that loved to explore. He lived in much of the Middle East and surrounding countries during his late teens. Ultimately deciding at the young age of 20 to move to the United States and specifically New York City. He shared how his first few jobs involved making sandwiches before he learned how to speak English. His love for food continued throughout his life as he carved out his career path as a chef. He often said, “you eat with your eyes first” and believed that food should look as good as it tastes and always, always be cooked with love.
In addition to good food, Sherif loved his girls, God, and having a good time. He loved to laugh, sing, dance, and wade in the water. Yet, the most resonating beauty of his spirit shines the brightest in his appreciation for the quiet, everyday moments: beautiful weather, riding to work in the morning with his daughter, singing his daughter awake, making his wife tea, appreciating a thoughtful gesture, sharing a laugh over the phone and listening to sermon and writing his favorite messages down. He was often comforted in knowing that his family is safe and doing well and often thanked God for blessing him with this and blessing him for being a vessel of service.
Sherif is reunited with his father, Mohamed El Sayed. He is survived by many loved ones in Egypt including his mother, Sadia Fargbakry and his siblings Samy, Naglaa, and Nahed along with his eight nieces and nephews and their children. In the U.S. he is survived by his wife and lifelong rock, Debbie Aly-El Sayed his daughters Cassie and Brandi as well as his fur-babies Spencer and Bear. His daughter Sarah and fiancé Michael as well as their fur babies ‘Cupcake’, Daisy, and Odin. His daughter Shyma and partner Jehan and their scale-babies Spinxy and Knotty in California. Then there are the innumerable amount of hearts he has touched along his many travels in life.
He loved sharing his philosophies and advice and I leave you with a few of his writings. Sherif wrote, “take your dreams and the promises God has put in your heart and everyday declare that they will come to pass […] What you do from now until the end of your life—the only thing you can do—is enjoy your days and enjoy what God has blessed you with.”
Sherif, Chubs, Eloise, Doc, Squigs you were a son, brother, husband, father, and friend. You were the pharaoh of our hearts, our colorful beacon, our warm smile and most of all an example of the vibrancy of life. “Life is-a choices” and Sherif chose to be free.
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