Father of late journalist Anthony Shadid speaks about Oklahoma-born son's book, life, career

A public memorial service for journalist Anthony Shadid will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City. The New York Times correspondent's family recently buried his ashes near the home his great-grandfather built in Lebanon.
by Juliana Keeping Published: March 2, 2012

Fleeing Lebanon

The family of successful peddlers wanted something more than what they had. In a time of strife, they fled Lebanon and settled in Oklahoma City.

Life captivated his son, and so documenting it was a natural fit, Buddy Shadid said.

Anthony Shadid graduated as valedictorian from Heritage Hall High School in 1986.

“He was more or less driven to be the best he could be,” his father said.

That drive carried him through college at the University of Oklahoma as well as the University of Wisconsin.

A visit to his family's ancestral home as a young man planted the seed that would grow into a career as a foreign correspondent covering stories throughout the Middle East.

He learned Arabic in college and studied it in Egypt before embarking on a career with The Associated Press, Boston Globe, Washington Post and New York Times. He joked that his Arabic was tinged with an Oklahoma accent.

Colleagues noted Shadid's deep empathy for ordinary people confronting extraordinary circumstances and a distinct writing style that did more than list the events of the day.

“He wanted to put a human face, not on the bombs, but on the people the bombs fell on,” his father said.

For his work, he won two Pulitzer Prizes, in 2004 and 2010, for coverage of Iraq, and numerous other awards. He was captured in Libya as the region erupted in chaos, and shot in the shoulder while reporting in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Despite the peril, what he saw drove him to continue.

A scholarship at Heritage Hall High School bears Shadid's name. He liked giving back to Oklahoma City and visited home four or five times a year, his father said.

Buddy Shadid said he's as proud that his son inspired other journalists as anything else.

The family buried his ashes under two ancient olive trees near the home of stone and tile his great-grandfather, Isber Samara, built in Jedeidet Marjayoun, Lebanon.

“Though none of us could summon its image, Isber Samara's house remained, saying his name and ours,” Anthony Shadid wrote. “It was a place to look back to, the anchor, all that was left there. To my family, separated or reunited, Isber's house makes a statement. Remember the past. Remember Marjayoun. Remember who you are.”

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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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Memorial service

Buddy Shadid will speak about his son, journalist Anthony Shadid, during a public memorial service at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker Ave.

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