Florence Fattal was born in Latakia, Syria, on July 17, 1917, and reached her 100th birthday this year, passing away on July 31, 2017. She is the daughter of the late Sadick and Florence May Elsey Fattal. Her mother was a missionary nurse in Syria and met her husband, Sadick, who was a pharmacist in Syria. Her mother died when Florence was two years old, and she was reared by her father and his sister, Clalia Fattal.
Florence had her elementary and secondary education in Syria and taught for several years at the American Mission School for Girls in Latakia. She became good friends with the American missionaries Ken and Marjorie Sanderson, Eunice McClurkin Posset, and the Herbert Hays family. After the death of her father and aunt, Florence and her sister, Helen, came to the United States in October, 1958, and then entered Geneva College in January, 1959. They both graduated from Geneva College in August, 1962, with majors in English and Bible. Florence received an M.A. degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh in April, 1964, and later received an advanced degree in Library & Information Science from the same university (12 hours short of a Ph.D.)
At the age of twelve Florence joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Latakia, Syria, and later, in 1964, joined the Geneva Reformed Presbyterian Church in Beaver Falls, PA. Florence served the Geneva Church and as treasurer of the Presbyterial of the Alleghenies for ten years. She was active in many church affiliated organizations. Florence and Helen received their United States citizenship on July 3, 1986. Florence lived in her Beaver Falls’ home until 2014 and then moved to the Reformed Presbyterian Home to be near her good friends, Eunice Posset, Shirley McMillan and Jean Hemphill, where she lived the remainder of her life.
Miss Fattal was employed as an Assistant Librarian at Geneva College for nearly 27 years, and was a volunteer at Geneva College since her retirement in 1991 for nearly nine years. In October, 2006, the Board of Trustees of Geneva College honored her by conferring the title of Assistant Professor & Assistant Librarian Emerita.
Florence was preceded in death by her beloved sister, Helen Fattal in 2003, and is survived by several cousins and a host of dear friends.