OLGA ASSAF WAHBE passed away on February 25, 2006 at her home in Beit Jala in the Palestinian West Bank. Born on March 23, 1904, she died just a month short of her 102nd birthday. She dedicated her life and spent sixty years educating several generations of Palestinian girls and women, first under the British Mandate, later under the Jordanian government and finally under the Israeli occupation. She served as a teacher, administrator and advisor to government and private schools. Miss Wahbe attended the British High School in Jerusalem and continued her education in the British Girls' School where she received her Teacher's Diploma. In 1925 she was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies at the American University of Beirut, where she was the first woman from Jerusalem to graduate. She studied history at AUB with a number of distinguished classmates including Constantine Zurayk and Adel Osseiran. After graduating from AUB Olga Wahbe returned to Jerusalem and was appointed as a lecturer at the Women's Teachers College. She received a fellowship for further study in London. When she returned she was appointed Vice Principal and later Acting Principal of the Women's Training College. In 1950 she was appointed by the Jordanian Government as a supervisor of girls' schools in the West Bank. Later she was Assistant Deputy Minister of Education, working out of Amman. She also established the Training School for Girls in Ramallah and was Principal until 1965. Following her retirement from government service she remained active as an advisor or board member of several educational institutions including Bir Zeit University, the Good Shepherd Swedish School in Bethlehem, the Y.W.C.A, the Dar al-Awlad School, and the Mennonite School in Beit Jala. Miss Wahbe was on the Advisory Board of the Orthodox Palestinian Society and a member of the Jordanian Higher Council for Education. Olga Wahbe received many honors over the course of her career. She was awarded several medals, including the Patriarchate Contemporary Emblem, the King Hussein of Jordan Education Medal, the Orthodox Palestine Society Gold Medal, and the King Gustav of Sweden North Polar Star Medal for education. She will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched. And she will be fondly remembered by the many women who worked and studied with her. Miss Wahbe is survived by her sister Louba Breen in Beit Jala, her nieces Vera Hudson and her husband Michael and their family, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, Tatiana Butter and her husband David, and their daughter, of London, England, Lily Porter and her husband Louis, Nelly Barrett and her husband Robert, and her nephew Samer Wahbe and his wife Pamela, and their families, all of Baltimore, Maryland.
THE BALTIMORE SUN