Michael Elias Shalhoub lived the American immigration dream. Mike was born of Syrian immigrants, Elias Shalhoub and Weddad Sayhan, in 1930 in the family home on Henry Street in downtown Brooklyn. A 1952 Manhattan College graduate, Mike obtained a Masters Degree in Public Health at Columbia University, and became executive director at a number of hospitals in New York City, mostly part of the Catholic Medical Center. He served in the US Army medical corps from 1954-1956.
It was there, despite his considerable professional accomplishments, that he fulfilled the true American dream. In February 1956, while in the Army in Fort Benning, Georgia, he met the love of his life, Boots Moon, a Southern-belle from Selma, Alabama.
Arab-American; Catholic-Baptist; Yankee-Southerner. In 1956. Wow!
A whirlwind romance followed for Mike and Boots. Mike asked for her hand in marriage on the third date. She said no for a time. But after a 3 week time-out for Boots the Southern Baptist to consider whether to marry Mike the Catholic Yankee, she ultimately succumbed to his Brooklyn charm and wit. They married on Thanksgiving Day in 1956, just 9 months after first meeting. It lasted nearly 62 years. Children, a half dozen of them, followed rapidly. Two born in Georgia, two in Brooklyn and two in Queens. Six in eight years. Their hands were full.
In 1968, their life together in Smithtown started, where it ended on October 26, 2018. His enormous heart, having given all it could give here, moved to a better place.
Mike’s generous heart though is not finished giving. It lives in the hearts, minds and psyches of the multitude of his friends and family. No person could have loved friends and family, and a fun time, more than Mike. A prankster, a joker and a man of one of the most impish smiles you could imagine, Mike filled every room with laughter and twinkling eyes. Others measure their success by offices sought, organizations served, their professions, money made, hobbies pursued, athletic successes and the like. Mike did not measure success by any of those.
Mike filled the hearts of family and friends. Fifty year neighbors to the left, Rich and Joy Stanley. Thirty five year neighbors to the right, Vic and Lori Travaglianti. Best friends, who became like family, who first met on a cruise, Dick and Laila Barone, and their family. And many many more friends from over the years.
He loved his Mets, Dodgers (Brooklyn and LA) Jets and Knicks. Of late, he was a Commack Crazie for granddaughter Kimmy a four year basketball star at Commack, now playing club ball at Villanova. Unsuccessful lottery efforts. Decades of bowling buddies.
But, he was so so proud of his “crew”, Boots, his children and their families. Michael and his wife Gail Boggio, Eastchester, NY. Theresa (Teri) Hurlburt and her husband Don, Athens, Georgia. Joseph and Yvette Shalhoub, Roswell, Georgia. Marcy Hammons and her husband Michael, Woodstock, Georgia, Diane Shalhoub, Smithtown, NY and Paul and Gina Shalhoub, Commack, NY. His grandkids, Michael Hirschfield, Chris Hirschfield (Brittany), Lindsay Savage, Nicole Kendrick (Jorge Fernandez), PJ Shalhoub, Matt Shalhoub, Kimmy Shalhoub and Julia Shalhoub. And, his great grandchildren, Mason Hirschfield and Palmer Hirschfield. The story of Mike is incomplete without mention of his fur babies, Abby and Jesse, and his other loved dogs over the years
Mike is also survived by his sister-in-law Mary Sitzes (Late beloved husband Mason), and their children Karen Boyce (Leon), James Sitzes and the late Richard Sitzes (Angeles), grandchildren and great grandchildren. The repartee between Mike, Mason and Mary was full of belly laughs. Mike is also survived by two sisters, Marcella Shalhoub, New City, NY and Gloria Bitar (Lated beloved husband Joseph), San Diego, CA and their children Michelle Barrett (Paul), Barbara Perkins (Bill), Denise Persico (Joe) and Kenneth Bitar and his wife Patty and their families. His brother Robert, his wife Doreen, and their son Robert preceded Mike in death.
Mike also leaves behind his cousins Monsignor William Belford, Charlene Burdi (Jerome) and family, Jeannette Montemarano (Joe) and Joyce Lambert (Bill) and family.
And that is just blood. There is the family that is family by marriage, and family by choice. Linda and Bob Costello, the Cornwell family, the Lupo family, the Pulvirenti family, the Mullen family, the Carroll family, to name a few. His love knew no bounds.
Mike’s life can best be measured in heart and love. He loved, and taught how to love. Those that he taught by example will pay that forward for generations.