In Memoriam: Basima Qattan Bezirgan

The family of Basima Qattan Bezirgan
باسمة قطان بزركان
invites you to join friends, family, and colleagues for a
Celebration of Life
honoring her memory and rejoicing in her legacy.
Sunday February 17, 2019, 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
The University of Chicago
 1155 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637

Basima Qattan Bezirgan (August 18, 1932-January 4, 2019) was a Middle East Cataloger and Arabic Specialist at the University of Chicago for 25 years before retiring in 2005. Prior to that, she was a Cataloger and Bibliographer at the General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin. Basima was a native of Baghdad, Iraq and received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Baghdad. She left Baghdad with her husband for a life in England, where they both pursued higher education and later started a family, living first in Manchester and then in Oxford where Dr. Bezirgan was affiliated with Magdalen College Oxford and St Anthony's College Oxford. Later, the family moved to Austin, Texas. For many years, Basima was a homemaker, supporting her husband in his position as professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, volunteering with the PTA and other community organizations. She was awarded fellowships to study Persian at the University of Washington, Seattle and the University of Texas at Austin. After her children were school-age, Basima returned to graduate school and received her MLS from the University of Texas at Austin and began her professional career in library science. She was the co-editor with Elizabeth Fernea of Middle Eastern Muslim Women Speak (University of Texas Press); Co-translator with Elizabeth Fernea of 20 poems for Robert W. Stookey, translator of: Jaques Berque, Cultural Expression in Arab Society Today (University of Texas Press); and consultant and translator for “Women in the Middle East”, three films by Elizabeth Fernea and Marilyn Gaunt (Icarus Films, New York).  Basima was a frequently called upon lecturer and presenter at the University of Chicago and the University of Texas. She was a celebrated hostess, known for her frequent entertaining and informal “salon” dinners for as few as four or as many as forty guests in her home.

Basima died on January 4, 2019 following a courageous battle against Dementia. Beloved mother of Bess (Josh) and Yasir (Brittney), loving grandmother of Kayla, Bryce, and Zachary, doting aunt to numerous nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces.  She is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Najm Bezirgan and her eldest son, Najdet.  The family asks for donations to be made in her name to Cure Alzheimer's Fund (CAF).