Farewell Steve Nawi

This morning, before I awoke, at his home in Norwood, New Jersey, Steve Nawi succumbed to cancer and ascended into the immortal realm. Steve was an extraordinary man in my view and I want to tell you a bit about him.  He and I were brothers-in-law for the 20 years of my first marriage and he was a most generous Uncle to my daughters and a gracious host whenever I visited him.  I think that Generosity is the quality I will most remember of him. 

And I will remember his abiding gratitude for the successes he earned in life.   We spoke years ago of his journey to America after his escape from Iraq.  Yes, he escaped, back in the early 1970’s.  You see, Steve was a Baha’i.  And in Iraq in those days, that was punishable by death.  And if being Baha’i wasn’t crime enough for that regime, Steve also happened to be of Jewish descent. That was certainly double-trouble.  In those days, Jews in that country were not afforded citizenship rights of any kind, so getting a passport was out of the question. Steve escaped by way of the Canadian Embassy.  From Canada he moved to New York and became a successful American businessman through relentless hard work and sheer determination.

I won’t tell my many Steve stories, I just want you to know that a fine man has passed at the age of 64 – way to early in my opinion.  And he will be missed.

If you have a moment, please say a prayer for his spiritual progress in the next world and for the peace and happiness of his wife Kathy and their grown children, David and Nancy, still living in this one.

Darrell Elmer Rodgers
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

About Darrell

Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist
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11 Responses to Farewell Steve Nawi

  1. Crystal says:

    Steve was a wonderful man with a kind heart. I work at Manheim Auto Auction as a Outside Coorindator for his account and I will miss him. Thanks for sharing your story. Crystal Doll

  2. Darrell says:

    Apparently, my previously published details of Steve’s departure from Iraq were incorrect, so I have edited them out. They were as I recalled hearing them from Steve. But who knows, maybe I heard it wrong. Nonetheless, as I said above, being a Baha’i in Iraq back then was bad enough. Being a Baha’i of Jewish descent was double-trouble. So we’re glad he made his way to America and later, brought his mother Violette out of Iraq too. Now there was an amazing woman.

    • Larry Owen says:

      Darrell – thanks for sharing your memories of Steve, whom I knew, but not as long nor as well as you. Please do us (or just me) a favor, and write more about your memories of Steve and share them on your blog, Surely you have many. A generous man surely deserves at least this, right? Thank you in advance…
      -Larry Owen

      • Darrell says:

        Larry, I promised family members that I would not tell stories. But I think they would permit me to say this. Steve was perhaps the most delightful uncle any kid could have. When my daughters visited, he would take them shopping and always tuck a sum of money into their pockets on the way. He was big on trips to the ice cream parlor or the donut shop, particularly in fancy cars (he ran a leasing business). My oldest, now a grown woman, still talks about the day Uncle Steve let her drive a Porsche. And whenever we went out to dinner, I could just forget about the bill. Steve would not have it any other way. He once said to me privately “You have time and talent that you can serve the people you love. I have money. Let me share it, this is how I can serve.” Of course, I never argued.

  3. Pam says:

    Thank you Darrell for your wonderful rememberance. I know that he loved you and enjoyed your humor. I can still hear his distinctive laugh. It was a laugh that I always looked forward to and will never forget. I could always count on you to tell a story that obviously amused him. Family and friends were a big part of his life and, I believe, we all feel gratified to have been included in his life. He loved what he did, not a statement many people can say, and he did it until the end. I spoke with him a couple of weeks before he passed and he wanted me to know that he was not in pain. I don’t think he would have wanted to burden his family with seeing him that way and, in true Steve fashion, he did not. He was always kind and generous; and, he was always there for us. I know you cared for him and I appreciate you sharing your feelings about him. I know you will miss him too.

  4. Valerie Smith says:

    I’m only just learning about Steve’s passing, and wish I could offer my condolences to Kathy. Thank you for sharing these stories.

  5. Dergham Aqiqi says:

    Only this evening I heard from Nina Toeg about the passing of Steve – Sabah as I knew him in Baghdad, God bless his soul and may the Almighty bestow upon him bounties and showers of grace to elevate to the high realms of the spiritual world. Never seen him since departure from Iraq but always heard about his progress and services. Having heard this news i searched to find more through the internet then said prayers and now I’m sending these word to his wife Kathlleen whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet but I ask the creator to strengthen her heart, increase her patience and bring serenity and joy to her days in his memory. My sincere condolences to their son and daughter. Kindest regards. Dergham Nov 20, 2011.


    I found only today that steve is not any more with i work with him 30 years ago and it a great losse, he was good friend and very generous person and I will remember him as a fine person


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