Visiting the Syrian Community in Glenwood Cemetery, Part 2

October 20th, 2023

By Becky Chapin, Archivist

In 2022, we hosted a cemetery tour at Glenwood Cemetery of some members of the Syrian community. We ran out of time after completing section 19, so this year I did a Part 2 of the tour. Here are some highlights from section 18 and 20 mainly focused on the second generation of Syrian Genevans.

Family tree for  Essa, Abraham, and Brown families

For the tours, I had to make family trees to make sense of all the family connections and because many people had the same names! In this case, I mapped out the family connections between the Essas, Abrahams, and Browns and added photos of Mitchell and George Abraham.

Michael Zakour was born to John and Sadie Asse Zakour in 1926. John and Sadie are buried in section 19. Michael’s stone lists his birthday as June 9, 1926, whereas his military record lists his birthday as June 9, 1925, so is this a typo on the records or did Michael lie about his age? Well in 1943 when he enlisted, Michael was 17 years old, so it’s quite possible he did lie. He joined the National Guard in Geneva’s Company K, 3rd regiment and eventually served in the US Marine Corps, 1st division during the war, seeing action at Pearl Harbor, Guam, Iwo and Okinawa. When he came home, Michael developed and operated Zakour Graphics, later joining CH Stuart as an advertising executive where he worked for many years. His obituary lists his passion for drawing and painting.

Abraham and Freda Baroody had three children together, Thomas, John, and George. They immigrated from Syria via Canada and joined his brother Saliba in Geneva. Abraham worked for the railroad and for the stove works. Freda died in 1916 and Abraham remarried around 1925 to Suzanne and they had 4 children together, Michael, Robert, William, and Marion. Abraham died in 1942 at age 62 of a heart attack.

Thomas Baroody was born in 1908 to Abraham and Freda in Syria. When Thomas was four, the family immigrated to America where Abraham’s brother Saliba had already settled in Geneva. Thomas, also known as Tim, was assistant manager of the circulation department of the Syracuse Herald from 1933 to 1965, then became comptroller for a company in Rochester, and an examiner for the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance. He also served as alderman for Geneva and as president of the council in the 1950s and 60s.

Michael G. Michaels is the son of George and Eva Essa Michaels. Born in 1914, he was a lifelong resident of Geneva. He served in the US Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946 and was a member of the Legion Winnek Post in Geneva. In high school, Michael received a college scholarship loan from the Geneva Rotary Club and attended Hobart College, graduating in 1936. He worked in a grocery chain warehouse, as an expediter at the American Can Company, then as a scientist’s assistant at the Experiment Station before enlisting in the Air Corps. Afterwards, he became a financial consultant and co-manager of Smith Barney from which he retired and served as chairman of the board of trustees for FLCC in 1970. He died in 1995.

High school photo of Gary Michaels

Gary Michaels, 1971 Geneva High School Yearbook, In Memoriam

Michael’s son Gary was 17 years old in the summer of 1970, heading into his senior year at Geneva High. Gary was spending his summer in Peru, following in the footsteps of his three siblings who spent time abroad in Latin America and Spain. On August 9, he was returning from a sightseeing tour of Inca ruins in Cuzco when his plane crashed. Gary was 1 of 49 American exchange students killed in the LANSA Flight 502 crash. Gary had spoken to his parents a week prior when he was suffering from food poisoning and was due home just two weeks after the crash. His body was not recovered.

Albert Baroody was born in Geneva to Michael and Mary Abdo Baroody, who are in section 19. He lived here all his life owning and operating the Castleton Meat Market for over 30 years. He served in the Second World War as a staff sergeant in the Army Medical Corps. His mother died while he was in enlisted in 1945. Albert has four siblings Helen, John, Esther, and Rosemary.

Albert’s wife Victoria George was born to the Reverend Daniel and Helen George in 1915 (section 19). They had three sons, Albert the 2nd, George, and Daniel.

Victoria’s sister Carrie George Norman was born in Wilkes Barre in 1907. She owned her own hairdressing shop for many years in Geneva. She married Leo Norman in 1925 in Wilkes Barre. At the time, Leo was living in Canandaigua and working as a painter. His parents were John and Mary Norman. Leo was born in Geneva and lived here most of his life. He owned Hathaway Bakery for 40 years before retiring, then worked as the chief of security at the Geneva General Hospital for 11 years until he became ill. They had 3 children, Helen, Carol, and John.

Image of Mrs. Anastos Baroody from a newspaper

Mrs. Anastos Baroody, from the Syracuse Herald, March 2, 1919

According to her gravestone, Anastatia Baroody was born in 1816 and lived to be 104. One obituary says she lived in Syria almost her whole life but traveled to America alone at the age of 97 to join her children. After posting about her on Instagram, a descendant said that looking at Anastatia’s children’s birthdays, it’s unlikely she was this old because otherwise she would have had children in her 60s. Other articles about her in the paper, as Mrs. Anastos Baroody, said she was 112 years old and was making plans to return to Jerusalem, having arrived in American five years previous. An intriguing mystery!

Here’s a short list of veterans we visited (this is not inclusive):

Section 20:

  • Brothers George Abraham- Army Counter Intelligence Corps, and Mitchell Abraham- Army Air Corps – World War II
  • Deacon John Jebara- Navy – World War II
  • Michael G Michaels- Army Air Corps – World War II
  • Michael Zakour- Marine Corps – World War II
  • Charles Leo- Army Air Corps – World War II
  • Albert Baroody- Army Medical Corps – World War II

Section 19:

  • Theodore Baroody- Army Tank Battalion – World War II
  • Brothers Edward Baroody- Army Air Force – World War II – pronounced MIA, and Richard Baroody- Air Corps – World War II
  • Anthony Abraham- Army Air Force – World War II
  • George Zakour- Battalion – World War I
  • Brothers- Donald Zakour- Marines, George Zakour- Air Force, Joseph Zakour- Navy – World War II
  • Harry George- Army – World War II


2 responses to “Visiting the Syrian Community in Glenwood Cemetery, Part 2”

  1. John Zakour says:

    hi, I’m Mike Zakour’s son and yes, he did lie about his age so he could go fight. He then spent six months under fire in Okinawa. Which made him feel that I should never go to Vietnam.

    1. Becky Chapin says:

      Thanks for sharing John. I will make a note of this in my files.

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