We like to think we’re on top of things in Wellesley at The Swellesley Report, but every so often we come across news after the fact that makes us realize so much has gone on and does go on in town that we’re oblivious to. Like other media entities, we’re often drawn to those who seek attention, not necessarily those who deserve it.
Reading the obituary of Dr. A. Karim Khudairi, a longtime Wellesley resident who passed away earlier this month at the age of 95, reminded us of this.
We’ve been in touch with two of Dr. Khudairi’s daughters, Sue and Sally, over the years. Their Dorset Cafe (now the site of CrepeBerry on Washington Street) started up not long after Swellesley did. But we weren’t really aware of the impact their parents have had on the town until we read Dr. Khudairi’s obituary.
He took full advantage of a long life that began in Iraq and ended here, 50 years after he became an American citizen. He was a scientist, teacher and entrepreneurial businessman whose areas of expertise spanned from poultry to tomato plants. A lifelong learner, Dr. Khudairi took part in Zoom calls via an iPhone in his final days.
His teachings went beyond science and into religion. Described in his obituary as “An unstoppable force in helping advance the Muslim community in America,” Dr. Khudairi became a sought-after spokesman regarding Islamic issues, including after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He played a key role in urging Wellesley to represent Jewish and Muslim community members with the illuminated menorah and crescent on the Town Hall lawn alongside the Christmas tree. Both he and wife Sajida (past president) have been active with World of Wellesley over the years, and Dr. Khudairi made his influence felt through numerous other Wellesley organizations and campaigns, including those of historical significance in town.
We cannot do justice to Dr. Khudair’s legacy here, but his family is attempting to do so via the A. Karim Khudairi Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that will raise awareness, fund scholarships, and support events that promote education and interfaith initiatives.