Adele A. Barakat, 95, Businesswoman, Philanthropist

Adele Barakat, 95, of Kennett Square, died peacefully at her home on April 29. Mrs. Barakat was the beloved matriarch of seven children, 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Family was everything to her.

Adele Barakat

Born Adele Anna Hykel in Ardmore, to Lebanese immigrant parents on Feb. 15, 1923, she was the third of four children. Her family started and still own Hykel's, an Ardmore restaurant that was established in 1938.

A graduate of Haverford High School, Mrs. Barakat later attended business school and during WWII worked at the Signal Corps, which provides support for the combined command and control of the armed forces. She met her husband, Joseph, also a Lebanese immigrant, in 1945 and married in February 1946.

Together, Adele and her husband established several businesses, employing more than 250 people in the Delaware Valley. This included Joe's Bar in Havertown, which she ran for 35 years while she raised her family. Later in life, the Barakats moved to Chester County, as her husband opened a manufacturing plant in Oxford.

Mrs. Barakat's love of children and family led her to a life of philanthropy. As Lebanese Americans, the couple was approached by former actor Danny Thomas to spearhead a fundraising effort across the tri-state area to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and helped organize an appearance by the television celebrity at the Bazaar of All Nations in Delaware County.

Adele had a strong faith and a belief in the importance of church as a focal point for the Lebanese community. In 1980 she and her husband donated a 14-acre property to establish a Catholic church in the Philadelphia suburbs, so Lebanese Maronite Catholics would not have to travel to the city to celebrate their faith. The property was later sold and proceeds used to acquire a new site and begin building a church, St. Sharbel, in Newtown Square, which was completed with contributions from other local families. Today, more than 80 families from Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties gather to celebrate the Maronite service in both English and the traditional Aramaic language.

In 1983, in recognition of their support, Adele Barakat and her husband were honored by Pope John Paul II as a Papal Lady and a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory, the highest honor the Catholic Church bestows to non-clericals.

Mrs. Barakat enjoyed gardening, spending time at her Bethany Beach home with family, cooking traditional Lebanese food and bird watching.

She was the beloved mother to Mary Ann Funk, Fred Barakat, Linda Letier (David), Nancy Barakat (Cary Kerrigan), Joseph Barakat (Nadia), John Barakat (Tracy) and Rachel Barakat. She is also survived by her grandchildren Jennifer Weiser (Bela), Brian Barakat (Michelle), Nicole (Mauricio Castillo) Michael and David Barakat (Linda), David Letier, Kristi and Lauren Kerrigan, Joseph and Katie Barakat, Andrew and Alexander Barakat and Alexa and Julia Meikle. She was also a loving great-grandmother to seven.

Relatives and friends are invited to visitation on Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to noon at St. Sharbel Church, 3679 Providence Road, Newtown Square,. A funeral mass will follow immediately. Burial will be at SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, 1600 S. Sproul Rd, Springfield, PA.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 (www.stjude.org) or Neighborhood Health of Chester County (https://www.chestercountyhospital.org/services-and-treatments/home-care-and-hospice-neighborhood-health/gift-giving.

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