The Rev. John Badeen, Beaumont, Texas Formerly from Detroit, priest aided Middle Easterners

Mark Hicks
The Rev. John Badeen loved aiding those in need: supporting struggling immigrantstudents, urging gift-basket bearers at his church to give to the less fortunate in the community instead.

That guided him while launching the Arab American and Chaldean Council, a nonprofit that aims to help Middle Eastern immigrants and others overcome obstacles finding jobs, health care and more.

“Father Badeen was a role model for humanity and a true humanitarian, caring person,” said Haifa Fakhouri, the council’s president/CEO. “He dedicated his life to help the needy and the destitute in the community.”

Father Badeen, the group’s co-founder and its first chairman, died Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, in Texas after multiple health issues. He was 86.

In the late 1970s, while leading St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Detroit, the ordained priest witnessed the struggles of recent refugees and other foreigners seeking resources. So he, Fakhouri and others gathered to launch a group to address their needs.

Once in a small office in Detroit, the Arab American and Chaldean Council evolved into a major group connecting thousands of clients across the region with services such as counseling and health care.

Father Badeen continuously advocated for them and reminded peers of their mission, Fakhouri said: “He was the main pillar of ACC, for better or worse.”

While serving at St. George, Father Badeen joined annual efforts to distribute food and other items to the residents in need. He also helped establish the St. George Tower, a subsidized housing community in Clinton Township that serves senior citizens and others, said the Rev. Joseph Antypas, who succeeded him at the church, now in Troy.

“Father Badeen believed in order to go to heaven, you must serve the people who are on Earth,” said Rev. George Shalhoub, a pastor in Livonia.

Father Badeen earned numerous honors and in 2010 was among founders to whom the Arab American and Chaldean Council’s board of directors dedicated its headquarters, youth recreation/leadership center and an an adult learning site, the ACC website says. The council plans a college scholarship fund in his honor, Fakhouri said.

Relocating to Texas in 1985, he headed a church there for years, launched another in Louisiana, stayed active with the ACC and counseled others, said his daughter, Farida Badeen. “My father’s vocabulary did not contain the word ‘no’ when it came to help,” she said.

Other survivors include his wife of 65 years, Louise, and sons James and George. Services are Monday in Texas.
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