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Monique Haddad Branon
Beirut 1938 – Palm Coast 2013

| November 25, 2013

monique haddad branon safa beirut beyrouth lebanon liban new york violoniste au couvent de la lune florida floride

Monique Haddad-Branon. (© FlaglerLive)

Note: Monique is FlaglerLive Editor Pierre Tristam’s mother

Monique Haddad-Branon, née Safa, passed away peacefully at home on the evening of Sunday 17 November 2013 in Palm Coast, Florida (United States), surrounded by her children, after more than a decade of a devastating battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, aged 75 years. Funerals took place on Thursday 21 November and a mass will reunite relatives and friends in the New York/New Jersey region.

A kindergarten teacher by profession, she kept a weekly column at the Beirut French-speaking daily L’Orient-Le Jour, was the agent of the English company Galt Toys in Lebanon, hosted weekly radio programs on two successive national stations (Radio Liban then La Voix du Liban), organized annual group trips for youths to the great historical sites of England, France and Italy, and created, wrote and hosted a live TV show entitled Le coin des jeunes (Young People’s Corner) on the French-speaking national channel for 15 years. She was also a reporter and foreign correspondent of the Lebanon daily Le Réveil since its inception in 1977, where she created the weekly profile “Men of Our Times” and “Women of Our Times.”


Monique’s Last Recorded Interview on Europe’s TV5

Two years into the Lebanon war she lost her husband of 18 years, the photographer Fouad Haddad, in 1976, and moved to New York after marrying James Francis Branon, desk editor at CBS. “Jim-Jim,” as she renamed him, took in her three grown boys, helped send them to good schools, provided the family a loving home in the beautiful Queens neighborhoods of Sunnyside then Woodside, and gave the four of them U.S. citizenship and a safe, rich, happy new life. (Jim-Jim died in Palm Coast in 2010.)

She picked up again her intense pace of activities and work where she had left it, successively becoming a correspondent and regular contributor at the Paris-based Figaro Magazine, author of an autobiographical novel entitled Le violoniste au couvent de la lune (The Violinist at Moon’s Convent, after her father Anis’s native village in the Chouf district of Mount Lebanon) which was published in Paris, as well as a collection of poems, another one of short stories, a textbook of elementary French for English speakers entitled Vis-à-vis published at McGraw-Hill, a series of radio programs on nutrition for UNICEF, and the French translation of A Christian Critique of the University—a collection of three university lectures by the Lebanese thinker and diplomat Charles Malik, one of the co-drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She also served as a trilingual interpreter at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. None of her New World activities changed her, however, from her old self as a literary hostess and gastronome of countless warm and gleeful home reunions of family and friends, to Jim-Jim’s great delight.

Monique, 1973. Click image for larger view. (© Fouad Haddad)

Monique, 1973. Click image for larger view.
(© Fouad Haddad)

Her great literary love was Marcel Proust, whose works she read in full and studied formally with one of his world specialists at Columbia University. Wife and mother, women of letters, musician, natural innovator, pioneer and feminist, always active, lively and brave, generous, filled with joie de vivre, hospitality and humor, such was Monique. Her writings chronicle life, childhood, the Levant of traditions, conflicts and bittersweet exiles, loss and reunions, the pilgrimage of the spirit through endless learning and variegated creeds, love of family, of Mount Lebanon—especially her beloved village Hamlaya, where she had spent the first years of the war—and finally her adopted city and country, New York and the United States.

She is survived by her three children Gabriel, Robert and Pierre (Tristam) and their respective spouses Faridah, Susan and Cheryl; nine grand-children (in the order she came to know them): Fouad, Sadie, Alexandra, Taher, Justin, Abdulghani, Luka, Alauddin and Karim; and by her brother Paul-René Safa.

Farewell to Monique, our sweet friend, neighbor, cousin, aunt, colleague, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, darling sister and beloved Mom, who hailed from loving, respectful and responsible people then raised the same. We had long been missing you and always will. Knowing that you are now relieved of your heavy burden and praying for the Most High to keep you with Him is for us a consolation and a redemption.

–Gabriel Fouad Haddad
Brunei Darussalam

Monique Haddad nous a quittés

Monique Haddad-Branon, née Safa, s’est éteinte paisiblement dans la soirée du Dimanche 17 Novembre 2013 à Palm Coast en Floride (Etats-Unis) entourée de ses enfants, après plus d’une décennie d’une lutte dévastatrice avec l’Alzheimer, âgée de 75 ans. Les obsèques ont eu lieu le Jeudi 21 Novembre et une messe réunira proches et amis dans la région de New York-New Jersey.

Monique au Coin des jeunes. Cliquer pour voir plus grand.

Monique au Coin des jeunes.
Cliquer pour voir plus grand.

Jardinière d’enfants et véritable forcenée du travail depuis son plus jeune âge, auteur d’une rubrique hebdomadaire au quotidien L’Orient-Le Jour, agente de la compagnie anglaise Galt Toys, hôtesse de programmes hebdomadaires à Radio Liban puis à La Voix du Liban, organisatrice de voyages annuels en groupe pour jeunes vers les grands sites historiques de l’Angleterre, de la France et de l’Italie, enfin créatrice-animatrice de l’émission télévisée Le coin des jeunes à la Compagnie Libanaise de Télévision pendant 15 ans, elle perd son mari le photographe Fouad Haddad en 1976 et se repatrie à New York où elle se remarie avec James Branon, journaliste à la chaîne CBS pour vivre désormais a Sunnyside puis à Woodside, son beau quartier boisé et ensoleillé de l’arrondissement de Queens. Reporter et rédactrice-correspondante au quotidien Le Réveil dès son inception en 1977, elle y crée une chronique hebdomadaire, “Les hommes de notre temps” et “Les femmes de notre temps.” Correspondante du Figaro Magazine à Paris puis auteur d’un roman autobiographique paru chez Stock, Le violoniste au couvent de la lune (son père Anis était originaire de Deir al-Qamar dans le Chouf au Mont-Liban), d’un recueil de poèmes, un autre de nouvelles, un manuel d’apprentissage du français pour anglophones titré Vis-à-vis chez McGraw-Hill, une série de programmes radios sur la nutrition pour l’UNICEF, et la traduction française de l’essai A Christian Critique of the University par le penseur Libanais Charles Malik, elle sert aussi d’interprète trilingue à l’Assemblée Générale des Nations-Unies. Elle n’oublie pas pour autant, au Nouveau Monde, ses habitudes Beyrouthines puis Hamlayotes d’hôtesse littéraire et gastronome tant chaleureuse qu’hilare.

le violoniste au couvent de la lune monique safa haddad stock 1991Son grand amour littéraire fut Proust, qu’elle lut intégralement et étudia avec un de ses spécialistes mondiaux à l’université de Columbia. Epouse et mère, littératrice, musicienne, pionnière, innovatrice-née, féministe avant la lettre, pérégrine, vivace et courageuse, généreuse et débordante de joie de vivre, d’hospitalité et d’humour, telle fut Monique. Ses écrits font la chronique de la vie, de l’enfance, du Levant des traditions, des conflits et des exils doux-amers, des pertes et des retrouvailles, du pélerinage de l’esprit à travers les connaissances sans fin et les convictions variées, de son amour de la famille, de la montagne libanaise—en particulier son bien-aimé Hamlaya, le village du Metn où elle vécut les premières années de la guerre du Liban, enfin de sa ville et de son pays d’adoption, New York et l’Amérique.

Elle est survécue par ses trois enfants: Gabriel, Robert et Pierre (Tristam) et leurs épouses respectives: Farida, Susan et Cheryl; par neuf petits-enfants (dans l’ordre où elle les a connus): Fouad, Sadie, Alexandra, Taher, Justin, Abdulghani, Luka, Alauddin et Karim; et par son frère Paul-René Safa.

Adieu Monique, notre amie, voisine, cousine, tante, consoeur, belle-soeur, belle-mère, soeurette et petite maman adorée, issue d’êtres aimants, respectueux et responsables et en formant à ton tour, tu nous manquais depuis longtemps déjà et nous manqueras toujours; mais de te savoir reposée de ta lutte herculéenne et priant le Très-Haut de t’avoir auprès de Lui est une consolation, et même une rédemption.

–Gabriel Fouad Haddad
Brunei Darussalam

Monique et ses enfants: Gabriel, Pierre et Robert, Beit Mery, 1968. (Fouad Haddad)

Monique et ses enfants: Gabriel, Pierre et Robert, Beit Mery, 1968. (© Fouad Haddad)

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34 Responses for “Monique Haddad Branon
Beirut 1938 – Palm Coast 2013”

  1. Rebecca says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Pierre, she sounds like an amazing woman.

  2. LSKoch says:

    What a wonderful tribute to a beautiful life well lived. My heart grieves for your loss; we never quite get over losing our mothers.

  3. Bruce Van Deusen says:

    My most sincere condolences Pierre.

  4. Dede Siebenaler says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss, Pierre. Alzheimer’s also took my beautiful mother, just over two years ago. What a beautifully accomplished woman your mother was, and I know you are so proud. May God wrap you and your family in his loving arms, and comfort you all in these very sad times. Peace be with you.

  5. Donna De Poalo says:

    A beautiful tribute describing what sounds like a beautiful life. Sending you warm thoughts.

  6. confidential says:

    My sincere felt sorry for your loss, from now on you Mom leaves forever in your hearts. God be with you.

  7. S. Salkin says:

    Your mother sounds like a wonderful, talented, brilliant woman. Beautiful, too. So sorry for your loss.

  8. Palm Coast Resident says:

    Our sincere condolences Pierre. Our prayers are with you and your family.

  9. JOSIANE ADIB TORBEY says:

    Chers Gabriel, Robert et Pierre, je fais partie de la generation d’ enfants qui attendait jeudi avec impatience devant le poste de TV pour assister au ” Coin des Jeunes ” de Monique. Nous avions parfois la chance d’ aller au studio, et de la voir ” de pres “: avec sa gentillesse legendaire et son sourire lumineux, elle nous faisait a sa facon participer a l’ emission, nous posant des questions et nous donnant l’ occasion – revee! – de parler au micro et d’ etre vus par nos amis. Elle etait pour nous un personnage mythique, et nous l’ adorions tout simplement! Avec la venue de la guerre, nous avions appris le deces de votre pere et avions ete touches par le grand courage de Monique face a cette epreuve. Les annees ont passe, et Monique a fait son chemin, entouree des siens… Paix a son ame! Sinceres condoleances a vous trois, ainsi qu’ a vos familles. Affectueusement, Josiane Adib Torbey

  10. Yann Vidal says:

    Paix a son ame! Sinceres condoleances a vous trois, ainsi qu’ a vos familles. Affectueusement,
    Yann Vidal

  11. orphan says:

    I’m so sad for you and your family, Pierre. :(

  12. Kendall says:

    “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardners who make our souls blossom” ~Marcel Proust

    My condolences to the Haddad-Tristam family. Monique must have been as interesting as she was beautiful.

    Kendall

  13. Rick Belhumeur says:

    Memories of our mothers will always be vivid ones!

    My condolences Pierre.

  14. Anita says:

    Sincere condolences to the Haddad-Tristam family for the loss of so lovely, gifted and irreplaceable a member. She has left you all with wonderful memories.

  15. Marissa says:

    ‘Say not in grief ‘she is no more’ but live in thankfulness that she was’
    Hebrew proverb

  16. Arlene Volpe & Tom Gargiulo says:

    We are so very sorry for your loss and join your family celebrating the life of your remarkable Mother. Arlene & Tom

  17. Benjamin Dominguez says:

    Pierre, Im so sorry for the loss of your mother.
    We only get one mom Pierre and you were blessed with
    a wonderful one at that.

    I’ll bet she was proud of you.

    My mother has dementia and I so very much sympathize with you.
    I am so sorry my friend.

  18. Carol Fisher says:

    Oh Pierre, I am so sorry for your loss. She must have been an amazing woman. I hope you are filled with the wonderful memories of your life with her, and that you soon will find peace. My deepest condolences to your family as you all adapt to life without her.

  19. DR JABAL M. BUABEN says:

    IN ISLAM , AMONG THE THINGS THAT BENEFIT A PERSON WHO HAS PASSED ON IS A PIOUS PROGENY WHO PRAY FOR HIM / HER. DR HADDAD, YOUR MUM HAS MADE A GOOD INVESTMENT IN YOU AND THIS WILL NOT GO IN VAIN. MAY THE GOOD LORD HIMSELF OFFER HER JANNAH. AMIN.
    Jabal, UBD, Brunei

  20. ryan says:

    I am sorry for your loss, Pierre. What a brave woman who had in amazing life. It takes a lot of courage for feminists from the Middle East to stand up for the rights of women to make their own choices, and we should all appreciate that. I hope you have a good Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.

  21. My sincere and heartfelt sympathies on the loss of your mother, Pierre. I see now where much of your inspiration and talents originated from. She sure was an amazing woman, teacher, writer, poet, photographer, philosopher, chef and mother!! “We had long been missing you” – such a devastating loss to go through and now to lose her again and at the young age of 75 seems so unfair. I hope you are able to find some solace in your happy memories this holiday season.

  22. NortonSmitty says:

    P, I’m so sorry it took me so long to get to this post. The love and more so the pride you show for this amazing woman described herein are a tribute that any man wishes he would be able to honestly present to the world as his Mom and his Blood. And the tribute you have given her here is something that she would be so proud of. She would be so appreciative to see your strength you got from her that allowed you to convey your love for her so beautifully to all of your friends, even through your grief and pain.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, your new family. No doubt you are strong enough to handle this loss. But never forget where this gift came from.

  23. Valerie Leleu Paris says:

    C’est un très beau hommage à Monique. Le peu que je l’ai connu , elle était comme tu l’as décrite. talentueuse , passionnée et merveilleuse. Toutes mes condoléances. Je pense à toi et je souhaite que votre Thankgiving , aujourd’hui soit un beau moment de recueillement en famille.
    Prends soin de toi . Valérie

  24. Mary Ann O'Dea (nee Branon ) says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful mother with our family. I always called her the “holy spirit” in our lives, after she married my brother, Jim. Her spirit, charm, joy, laughter, life, friends, family, stories kept us going for so-o many wonderful years.. God gave us a chance to nurse and nurture her in Palm Coast is those long and trying last years…… her gift just keeps on going. And now I feel her even closer, as she was in days of health. I cherish my Monique…… born 6 weeks after me, and a half a world away…… but our lives crossed and we will always be the better…… our values were alike. FAMILY.

    xxxx Mary Ann (Branon) O’Dea and Tom, and sons and their families.

  25. Liana G says:

    Pierre, words fail me…my sincerest condolences. I hope that I may draw inspiration from such a remarkable person.

    “Farewell to Monique … who hailed from loving, respectful and responsible people then raised the same.”

    Beautifully inspiring…

  26. JeTaime says:

    Pierre

    I am sorry for your loss, losing a family member is not easy by any means. I just hope that with this loss you in turn show a little more respect to people than you do now because you are one of the coldest people I have ever come across. Life is too short to be nasty to people, I truly hope for the best for you and your soul.

    ‘Karma’

  27. Chris O'Dea says:

    Pierre,
    These are amazing photos of your mom. Monique has always been a light in our lives and this compilation of photos and words does her memory great beauty, much like her. The Branons and O’Deas pass on all our condolences and we all wish we could have been with you during her passing. How strong, intelligent and honorable the 3 of you have become is a fine legacy of Monique’s. We are blessed for having her in our lives.

  28. Abd al-Hafidh says:

    We ask the Almighty to grant her the highest ranks in paradise with all those whom she loved and we would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to all her family and friends.

  29. Nadine N says:

    A beautiful tribute to Monique Haddad.
    The “coin des jeunes”, the cult show that inspired all our childhood, is now orphan from its star presenter.
    RIP Monique !

  30. Geezer says:

    Those family photos are priceless.
    Thank you for sharing.

    I especially like the one with mom and her boys.
    Your mother was quite beautiful.

  31. Aftab says:

    Such a moving and beautiful tribute to someone who clearly was an inspirational, loving, and caring mother. I have known Gabriel for some time now, as a teacher and a friend. Upon reading this, things clicked: Of course, behind every great man, there is a great mother. I wished I had the opportunity to have met Monique, but she lives on through her children, and no less, her grand-children. God bless.

  32. Cyril F says:

    Je viens d’apprendre par hasard la mort de Monique Haddad. Je garde d’elle, de son mari Fouad et de ses enfants – notamment Gabriel – à qui je transmets mes condoléances de très bons souvenirs dans un insouciant Liban d’avant-guerre. Je dois à Mme. Haddad mon premier et unique passage à la télévision lors d’un « Coin des Jeunes » spéciale Sainte Barbe (Berbara) et la « première gorgée » de Nesquik dans leur accueillante demeure de Sodeco à Beyrouth voilà déjà 40 ans.
    Que Dieu ait son âme.

  33. Yaseen Ali Bin Omar Naqshbandi Qadri says:

    MashAllah Shaykh, what a wonderful and touching memorial to an irreplaceable women. So sorry for your loss and relieved at the end of her suffering. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun. Rabbana tawaffana Muslimin wa alhiqna bis salihin.

  34. Adnan Flayfel says:

    I search her name on the internet and I found this page, She was a great lady ahead of her time in entertaining kids, her show was a vibrant and unique in French Language on Channel 9 Lebanon, when I found out that she died I felt so sorry about her death , her presence on the TV brought love and peace for kids , always she was a smiley face on Tv active through games and music, her show remind me of Lebanon during those days as Switzerland of the Middle East, I am hoping her offspring carry her torch and spread her words of peace and love towards the children. Monique we Love you , Allah Yerhamek, RIP, LOve you!!!!

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