Nick was a longtime supporter of Nonviolence International and Mubarak’s work promoting nonviolence around the world. To honor his life and legacy, we are sharing this obituary from Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens at
Nicola E. Awad (“Nick”), 78, Overland Park, KS, passed away in his home May 25, 2016. Nicola was born Dec. 19, 1937 in Jerusalem, Palestine. He married Patricia Miller on July 26, 1969. Nick is survived by his wife, Patti, brothers, Bishara, Mubarak, Alex, sisters Ellen Sorour, Elizabeth Siryani, Diana Wittman, children, Hilda Awad-Brown, Elias (wife Susan), Angela Abbott (husband Marshall) and six grandchildren, Andrea, Briana, Cassandra Awad, Kira Brown, Lauren and Nicholas Abbott. Nick and his family own Invision Eyewear in Oak Park Mall. Visitation Friday, May 27, 5 to 7 p.m., funeral service Saturday, May 28, 9 a.m. at Overland Park Lutheran Church, 7810 W. 79th St., Overland Park, KS. Burial in Shawnee Mission Memorial Gardens, 23215 W. 75th St., Lenexa, KS. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions made to the Bethlehem Bible College “Shepherd’s Society”.
At age eleven, Nicola became both father to his siblings and a breadwinner for the family when his father, Elias, was killed in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. His mother, Huda, worked long hours as a nurse and all the children, except Nicola, were put into orphanage schools to ensure both their well-being and educations. Remarkably, Nick managed to both finish his education and develop the entrepreneurial spirit that always prevailed in whatever projects he came up with throughout his career. The impact of these events in his early years as well as the loving, Christian guidance of Mama Huda, influenced Nick’s philanthropic soul all through his life.
Nick came to the U.S. in 1966 and began working as an optician in Kansas City, MO. After marrying Patti, the first Olathe Optical opened for business in September of 1971. Various locations were opened and closed over the years, with the Olathe and Oak Park Mall locations remaining as the anchors until their merge into the current Invision Eyewear location in July 2011.
Nicola’s Palestinian Christian heritage, the strong faith in God instilled in him by his mother, and her examples of kindness and forgiveness even to her family’s persecutors inspired him years later to become involved in numerous peace organizations. He received the Act of Harmony award in 2003 for his active role in Salaam Shalom, which he co-founded, a group encouraging peace by bringing Christian, Muslim, and Jewish people together. He received the Ambassador of Peace Award from the American Clergy Leadership Conference in 2004. In 2009, Nick co-founded Let the Children Play for Peace, a division of Heart to Heart International, designed to bring joy to children on both sides of the Israel/Gaza conflict by bringing them school supplies and toys. Also in 2009, Nick was named one of 23 “Kindest Kansas Citians”, when an essay written by the daughter of a close friend was chosen from thousands of entries.
Nick joined the Olathe Rotary in 2007 and was Food-Tasting co-chair of the Days of Wine and Rotary charity fund-raising event from 2010 to its latest event just a few weeks ago in early May. His presence in so many peace-inspiring and charity events and organizations will continue to be felt for many years.
One cannot mention Nick without thinking family. Family always came first for him and if you wanted to find him on a Sunday afternoon or evening all you had to do was stop by “CeeDee Habibi’s” house (grandpa dear in Arabic). You’d find him holding court out on the deck eating mezza (appetizers), surrounded by all of Patti’s beautiful flowers and some or all of his grandkids splashing in the pool or playing close by while a ruthless card game would be going on under the big umbrella. Nick loved entertaining family and friends and could make an occasion out of anything. His backyard holiday pool parties were legendary. It’s only fitting that we celebrate his extraordinary life on this Memorial holiday weekend – one of his favorites. We can rest in the assurance that Nick is right in the middle of the party as Heaven celebrates one of God’s own coming home.
To honor Nick’s memory, the family suggests contributions to the Bethlehem Bible College, which was founded by his brother Bishara in 1979. Please make checks payable to Bethlehem Bible College with “Shepherd’s Society” in the memo line. The Shepherd’s Society assists impoverished Palestinian families and refugees in the Holy Land. Gifts are tax deductible and a receipt will be provided.
Bethlehem Bible College
c/o Patricia Awad
9322 W. 92nd Terr.
Overland Park, KS 66212