William Bruce Sarraf
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William Bruce Sarraf
  • September 16, 1919 - October 31, 2017
  • Catonsville, Maryland

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William Bruce Sarraf was born in Pittsburgh, PA, the youngest of five boys, the son of Syrian/Lebanese immigrants. His father was Isaac Moises (Moses) Sarraf (1866 - 1951) who came to the US from Syria in 1869. He settled in Pittsburgh, PA. Bill's mother was Nellie Munyer (1883 - 1979) who came to the US from Lebanon as a child with her family. Isaac worked at a number of occupations including owning a dry goods store and working for US Immigration Service as an interpreter. After their marriage in 1898, Nellie worked as a homemaker and mother.

Bill's siblings were Edward 1903 - 1997, Walter 1906 - 1992, Richard 1909 - 1919, and Robert 1917 - 1990.

All of the Sarraf boys graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. Bill received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He put himself through school by playing trumpet seven nights a week with the local big bands, which cemented his love of music and playing.

After graduating in 1942 he moved to Washington, DC and the Department of Defense where he worked on systems for Navy ships. During WWII many people lived in boarding houses. Bill met his future wife, Leota Mae Goding, in a boarding house on Dupont Circle, NW. They were married in 1943 and celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2013. They have two daughters, Joan and Nancy, along with son-in-law, Patrick Treffry.

Bill and Leota retired to Charlestown, a retirement community in Catonsville, MD where they lived for ~20 years. They both were involved in volunteer work for the Charlestown Benevolent Care Fund. Bill volunteered for the furniture department of the Treasure Sale for almost 20 years.

Bill and Leota traveled all over the world, including Italy, Costa Rica, Mexico, France, Hong Kong, Spain, Canada, Greece, Egypt, Russia, British Isles, India, Kashmir and Nepal. They also loved antique furniture, and spent many weekends antiquing, bringing home their treasures to be lovingly repaired and restored. He was active with the Masons (Mt. Hermon Lodge No. 719, of Hyattsville, MD - a 51 year member) and Kena Shriners, A.A.O.N.M.S. of Fairfax, VA. He was also a watercolorist with the Charlestown resident art group. Leota published a book, "American Religions and Philosophies and Their Derivations (A Brief Overview)". Many of the illustrations in the book were photographs taken by Bill.

But Bill's biggest passion was music. He played trumpet for 80 years with bands in Pittsburgh, the Navy Band while on active duty, the Shrine Band and the Singing Cedars. While at Charlestown, Bill and a group of brass horn players formed the Charlestown Brass + 1 Band. Bill arranged music for all the instruments for the band. He developed a song book of approximately 300 songs, with arrangements for each instrument. He and the group had great fun preparing for and giving concerts throughout the year.

Bill and Leota thoroughly enjoyed living at Charlestown, the activities in which they were involved, but especially all of the wonderful people they met and friends they made.

Bill entered hospice at home on October 22, 2017 and peacefully passed away on October 31, 2017 surrounded by his family.

Memorial donations may be made to:

* Shriners Hospitals for Children, shrinershospitalsforchildren.org

* Disabled American Veterans, dav.org

* Wounded Warrior Project, woundedwarriorproject.org

* Gilchrist Hospice, gilchristhospice.org