Carmel’s Fred Sayegh Loved His Fellow Man
Sayegh, a resident of Carmel, died on Jan. 5 at the age of 81.
Sayegh and his wife of 52 years, Nawal, were blessed with seven children, 20 grandchildren and 64 nieces and nephews around the world.
As a businessman, Sayegh founded the Court Restaurant in downtown Carmel adjacent to the historic Putnam Courthouse in 1976 and after 11 years opened the expanded Carmel Restaurant which remains a popular eatery to this day.
On Monday, the Courier sat down with one of Sayegh’s two sons, William, to learn more about the man mourned last week by nearly 2,000 people who attended his wake, funeral and paid visits to the family’s home.
Sayegh recalled that “God, family and Carmel” were the three most important facets of his father’s life: “Dad was the kind of a man who loved life when the sun was shining or when it was cloudy and overcast. While in his presence, you were the most important thing in his life. You always had dad’s undivided attention.”
Sayegh arrived in the U.S. from Jordan at the age of 17. He landed a job and worked around the clock. Shortly thereafter, Fred met the love of his life and in 1960, he and Nawal married.
From humble beginnings, the Sayegh family purchased a modest home with Fred working three jobs just to make ends meet.
On Sept. 1, 1976, the Court Restaurant opened. Bill said “I still see the smile on dad’s face when he earned his first dollar at the restaurant. He was so proud because he was living the American dream. Hours didn’t matter. Dad opened early in the morning when the first customer walked through the door and stayed until late in the evening until the final customer went home with a full belly.”
The new restaurant opened in 1985 but prior to its grand opening the family took a vacation of a lifetime to Hawaii: “That was my dad. He was so appreciative of all our efforts for standing beside him morning, noon and night at the grill, coffee pot or cash register that he decided to take us on the extravagant trip before opening the new business,” said Bill.
Bill, who worked with his dad from the age of 12 to 29, remembered how his father made “everyone in their own way feel spectacular. Dad was much more than a patriarch. He was the greatest friend that anyone could have had. He never judged you.”
David Sayegh agreed that his father was an example of “what a great man is. My father was a gentleman who believed in faith, family, love, integrity and dignity.”
Fred’s daughter Jacqueline Annabi said her father was a “happy and loving man who was grateful for the blessings from God.”
Daughter Diane Jacobs called her father not only a caring dad but a “wonderful grandfather who was deeply adored by his grandchildren. My father was a generous, loving and nurturing man with a heart of gold.”
Sayegh was laid to rest last week at the Raymond Hill Cemetery in Carmel.