Camelia Lee (Zakaib) Bhalla
Camelia Lee Zakaib Bhalla, our dear mother and sitty, passed away peacefully on the morning of October 12th, 2020 at her home in Arlington, Virginia. The youngest of six children born to Paul Sr. and Haseeba Zakaib, Camelia grew up in a bustling and welcoming Syrian American home in Charleston. Her mother had been raised on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, emigrating from Syria in the 1920s. Her father, a graduate of the University of Damascus, worked as a peddler in the hills of Kanawha County in addition to running the Capitol Variety Shop with his wife. Paul Sr. also helped others learn the Arabic language, and his deep love of language helped shape Camelia’s childhood. Following her undergraduate work at Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston) she began a teaching career in Kanawha County, including at Loudendale Elementary. After receiving special training as a reading teacher at Lehigh University, Camelia went on to earn a graduate degree in Education, which she began at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and completed at Trinity College in Washington, DC.
Visit Camelia Bhalla’s obituary at Charleston Gazette-Mail.