Sky Scene 06

Robert Bechara Zeinoun

June 2, 1940 ~ March 22, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Robert Zeinoun Obituary

A memorial mass celebrating the life of Mr. Robert Bechara Zeinoun will be held on Friday, May 10th at 11:30am in Danbury, CT at Saint Anthony Maronite Catholic Church on 17 Granville Ave.  Robert Zeinoun, resident of Danbury, CT since 2017, passed away peacefully Friday morning, March 22nd, 2024.

“Bob”/Dad was born in Roumieh-el-Metn, Lebanon on June 2, 1940 (official immigration paperwork, however, places his United States birth date as March 6, 1940).  His parents were Jamal Saleme and Bechara Zeinoun, both of Roumieh.  Bob, or “RoRo” as he was affectionally called as a child, grew up attending a Quaker school in town until high school, then continuing his studies at Brumanna High School. He was an avid soccer and volleyball player, and a track and field star during his high school years, while also mastering billiards, able to swindle even the best of adults in his grandfather’s store. At age 18, Bob applied to the AFS (American Field Service) to study in the United States his senior year of high school, gaining approval and being placed in the Salt Lake City, Utah home of his “American brothers,” Bruce and Brent Holmes.  He counted that year as the foundation of his understanding of the opportunities available here in the States, laying the groundwork for his eventual return to live out the rest of his life here.

Dad worked for Pan American World Airways as the Regional Cargo Sales Manager from 1962 to 1968, coordinating shipments from Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan, and Syria and overseeing importing and exporting.  From these ties, Dad gained connections aiding him to start his own leather handbag importing and exporting business, Zeno Establishment, later Honey Bunch Handbags (named after the nickname our mother Dianne called Dad, Honey Bunch) from 1968 to 1988.  He and his brothers designed, financed, manufactured, and shipped handbags to the American market, and from 1972 onward, their New York City showroom and factory oversaw handbag sales to major department store chains all over the country, eventually reaching $6 million in handbag sales in the late 1970s. In 1989, Dad joined Empire-Orr, Inc. as the CEO, and later IMA Fashions, Inc., overseeing the operations of this publicly-owned handbag company. All of this work took him around the world for business trips, from Moracco, to Korea, Syria, and Lebanon. He later dabbled in importing and sales of men’s and boys’ sportswear with his brother Jahjah, finally settling upon learning how to invest in the stock market through many classes and much reading.  In his late 60s/early 70s, Dad continued to learn, earning his real estate license and working for three years for Keller-Williams Real Estate in Yorktown Heights, NY. In short, he was a lifelong learner and entrepreneur.

During his Pan American years working as an affiliate for diplomats’ travel at the American Embassy in Beirut, one fated evening, Dad met the love of his life, our mom Dianne Berry, at an embassy party. Mom was stationed as a secretary at the embassy in her work for the American State Department, and in 1968, she sidled up to Dad asking, “Is that Paco Rabanne cologne you’re wearing?”  That exchange sparked an immediate connection and love that would unite them for the next 56 years.  They married December 14, 1969 in Roumieh, settling there while Dad started Honey Bunch Handbags, later moving to New York City to continue the business, and finally Armonk, NY where they settled from 1973 until 2001. In the midst of that, Allison Jamal was born in 1973 in Texas, and shortly thereafter, Jennifer Amal in 1974 (affectionately known as Amal by family) was born in Beirut. 

Bob’s years in Armonk and commuting to the city brought much joy for his whole family. Dad was NOT a typical father of the ‘70s and ‘80s.  He was actively involved in his daughters’ lives, making daily breakfasts and lunches for Ali and Amal. Fond memories remain of days we’d miss the school bus, and Dad would drive us in, singing our favorite songs together.  Weekends brought Dad’s special “sweet breakfasts” (waffles, pancakes, or French toast), sledding in our backyard and playing ping-pong and billiards in our basement by the wood burning stove in the winter, and teaching us tennis, swimming, and in later years, how to drive automatic and stick shift, leaving us with many fun memories of Dad’s mispronunciations and misused words (“turn left, I mean right; clutch, brake, gas!”). Dad even learned to ski with Ali and Amal when he was almost 50, taking us on many fun family ski trips to Killington, VT.  His follies, cute expressions, joy of life, and welcoming nature to all of Ali’s and Amal’s friends endeared him to all of them, who loved him as their own dad. 

Dad also became the patriarch to all of his Lebanese nephews and nieces. As one of the first to immigrate to the United States, Dad encouraged, housed, gave cars to, and even employed many of his nephews as they started their lives in the US, attending college under the gentle eyes of our encouraging father, their beloved “Ammo” or “Khalo” (“Uncle Robert”). He and Mom hosted many pool parties in the summer, with the family playing volleyball in the back and feasting on his delicious tabbouleh, fattoush  salad, baba ganoush, and hummus, loubieh, and chicken and mushroom sauce. 

To know Dad was to love him.  Anywhere he went, his charismatic nature, loving and open heart, bright and sincere smile, and twinkling eyes brought children and adults alike a sense of his gentle, peaceful nature. From receptionists in doctors’ offices, to cashiers, Ali and Amal would often have strangers tell them—“is that your dad? He is the cutest—so funny and nice!”

In 2001, Bob and Dianne moved from Armonk to Somers, NY in the Greenbriar community.  It was here that they lived for twenty years, nurturing their growing family, including their beautiful grandchildren born to Jennifer Amal and Charlie Tallard, intermixed with Allison’s three children.  Mom and Dad even acted as caregivers to each of Allison’s children in the first years of their lives. Dad also learned golf in his later years, forming a wonderful friendship with his neighbor, Stanley Rybicki, often trying different golf courses with him. In the last two years, Dad and Stan had weekly brunch dates and golf outings. They were a highlight of his week.

Bob and Dianne even took an adventure to live in Willowbrook, Il near Amal’s family from 2015 until 2017.  They loved and invested themselves fully in attending all of the sporting and school events for Amal’s children in Hinsdale, IL, often playing tennis and cheering on their grandkids, before they moved back to the east coast to Danbury, CT in March 2017 to live closer to Allison and her family.

Dad never missed an opportunity to attend his grandkids’ tennis matches, baseball, hockey, basketball, and soccer games, along with jazz and chorus concerts.  Even until this past February, Dad would meet Allison’s family at the local diner, eager to order his usual Belgian waffle with strawberries on top, or a tuna salad club with French fries.  Dad continued his weekly sessions at the gym even after a Parkinsons’ diagnosis in 2020, ever working to maintain his strength and balance.  This disease, after a monthlong bout with pneumonia, were what ultimately proved to slow Dad down.  Despre all of this, Dad NEVER lost his beautiful kind eyes, zest for life, sense of humor, nor his smile—these are what we will miss most about Dad.

Perhaps most beautiful about Dad was the selfless, kindhearted way he cared for our dear mother during the last three years of her life, after her dementia diagnosis and her move to Maplewood Senior Living in Newtown, CT.  He lived to help and love her, visiting her sometimes five days a week, sitting with her at meals, bringing cookies and doughnuts for her to enjoy, and sitting by her bedside til her final breath.

Bob was predeceased by his loving wife Dianne (March 2023), as well as by his two brothers, William and John Zeinoun, and is survived by his two daughters, Allison Zeinoun Ferrier and her husband, Jason Ferrier, and Jennifer Amal Zeinoun Tallard and her husband, Charlie Tallard; their six grandchildren, Madeline, Will, and Zack Tallard and Samuel, Lily, and Emmeline Ferrier; as well as by five of his eight siblings: Jeanette Abi-Habib, Jahjah Zeinoun, Almaza Semaan, Berth Fadel, and Fadia Achkar; and by his brother-in-law, Bill Berry and his wife, Patti, of Cleburne, TX and their son, Taylor, and his family; along with numerous nieces and nephews and cousins. 

Bob Zeinoun will always be remembered for the sweet, selfless, and giving soul that he was. He touched the lives of anyone he encountered.  He will be sorely missed.

Bob will be buried at Peoria Cemetery, Peoria, TX at 11am on Friday, April 5th, 2024. All are welcome to attend the burial.   A memorial of his life—a funeral mass followed by a luncheon--will be held at St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church in Danbury, CT on Friday, May 10th, 2024 with mass beginning at 11:30am.  All are welcome.  

More information can be found at www.jowdykanefuneralhome.com as well as www.marshallandmarshallfd.com in Texas.

To quote one of Dad’s most beloved authors, Khalil Gibran, “your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life.” Dad’s exuberant, loving, and vivacious demeanor and attitude is certainly what led to such love and success and is perhaps his greatest legacy.

We love and miss you so much, Dad, and our lives have been forever changed by being graced by your loving and gentle presence!

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Bechara Zeinoun, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Robert Bechara Zeinoun?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Robert's memory.
Email
Print
Copy

Services

Graveside Service
Friday
April 5, 2024

11:00 AM
Peoria Cemetery
Hill County Road 2417
Peoria, TX 76645

SHARE OBITUARY

© 2024 Marshall & Marshall Funeral Directors. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility