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Issa J. Boullata, Urgel Bourgie / Athos

Issa J. Boullata
1929 - 2019

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Issa J. Boullata

Issa Joseph Boullata died peacefully on May 1, 2019 at the age of 90, surrounded by his children. He is now reunited with his beloved wife, the late Marita Seward Boullata.

A dedicated father and loving grandfather, he leaves behind his children Joseph (Laurel), Barbara, David (Sophie), and Peter, as well as grandchildren Christopher, Angela, Nicolas, and Vincent. Issa is survived as well by his brother Kamal (Lily), sister Souad Shammas, sisters in law Thérese and Annette. Siblings Renée, Jamil, and André predeceased him.

A distinguished literary scholar, translator, and professor, he will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched, the students, colleagues, readers and others who benefitted from his teaching and his cultural and academic accomplishments. Knowledge of a language is more than being instructed in its rules, it is an immersion into its culture and thought. This conviction is what made Issa a memorable and beloved educator.

Issa was born in Jerusalem, Palestine, on February 25, 1929. He obtained from the University of London a first class Bachelor of Arts in Arabic and Islamic studies in 1964 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Arabic literature in 1969. He taught Arabic at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut until 1975 when he became a professor at McGill University, teaching graduate courses in Arabic literature, Quranic studies, and modern Arab thought in the university’s Institute of Islamic Studies. Issa authored numerous scholarly books, articles, and book reviews as well as fiction, and was the notable translator of many works of poetry, fiction, memoir, and criticism. In 2014, he published a memoir of his early life entitled The Bells of Memory: A Palestinian Boyhood in Jerusalem.

Inspiration, introspection, and individuality defined Issa’s love for literature and life.

The family will receive relatives and friends at :

3955 ch Côte-de-Liesse, Saint-Laurent

Visiting Hours

Monday May 06, 2019 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
    7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Funeral service

Funeral will take place on May 07, 2019 10:30 AM at the following address: St-George Antiochian Orthodox Church: 555 Rue Jean-Talon, Montréal, QC H2R 1T8.

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Messages in memory of Issa J. Boullata

Nadia wardeh
May 05, 2019
I will ever remember his wise words and continuous advices that showered my intellectual journey as my unforgettable mentor.. I was his last PhD proud student. As I promised him I am marching on the way he taught me and transmitting the knowledge that I gained from him to my students.. you are always in my mind and heart and you will be greatly missed my beloved professor and my great mentor and master.
Margaret Obank
May 05, 2019
We have just heard this very sad news about our dear friend and colleague Issa J Boullata. What a great and generous scholar he was, his memory will never leave us. He was a tremendous supporter of Banipal, Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, for many years, advising, translating poetry and fiction, writing and discussing. We were very pleased to publish his own short stories "A Retired Gentleman and Other Stories". We send all our sympathies and condolences to his family spread around the world. Now he will be with his beloved Marita.
Terry Boullata
May 04, 2019
May his soul rest in Peace our beloved uncle and mentor. Jerusalem will never forget him! We shall hold a memorial service for him in Jerusalem on Sunday 12 May with family members and friends. My uncle Attallah sends his deepest condolences to you all.
Saba Hanna Boullata
May 04, 2019
May his soul rest in peace. My deepest condolences for your father, my close cousin and my admired teacher. Saba Hanna Boullata and family

Online ceremony viewing

Urgel Bourgie / Athos offers an online ceremony viewing service for family and friends.
This service is available on any desktop computer, tablet or smartphone for anyone who cannot attend the service in person.

The pictogram below will be displayed in the obituary section and enable loved ones to access the online ceremony viewing service.

Online ceremony viewing is available at our Beaumont, Beaubien and Lasalle funeral home complexes and Côte-de-Liesse and Saint-Hubert cemeteries.

Please contact us at 1 844 735-2025 for more information.

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