mother, grandmother, wife, and
pioneering woman in computer programming,
Saida Khan died at home in Kalamazoo
early Saturday morning, July 1,
was 93 years old.
in Bhavnagar, India, Saida met
and married Muzaffer Khan, a well-respected
criminal and corporate lawyer
couple had three children: Ahsan,
Sabiha, and Saleem.
quite determined to succeed, while
her children were growing up Saida
worked for the ICI Foundation
in Karachi, Pakistan, and in her
spare time took courses to learn
a new skill in auto mechanics
and radio repair.
mother migrated to the United
States in 1975 following her children,”
recalled her eldest son, Ahsan
immediately learned how to drive
and landed a job as administrative
assistant at Lincoln National
Life Insurance in Fort Wayne,
Indiana, while learning data processing
in night school.”
those early years in the U.S.,
Saida Khan worked around the clock,
pulling herself up by the bootstraps
to get ahead in America.
mother had a long and quite interesting
life,” Saleem Khan recalled.
was invited to teach the Urdu
language to Mahatma Gandhi, but
being very young and shy she decided
to pass on that offer.
as a computer programmer she worked
on and was recognized for a program
she created for the Pentagon."
remarkable thing about Ammi (mother),”
Ahsan Khan said, “was that
she was well into middle age and
had raised a family, and still
had the drive and determination
to start from scratch in her newly
adopted country—the United
States of America.”
her mid-50s, Saida was surrounded
by people half her age.
excelled in her career at Lincoln
and made lots of friends,”
her son Ahsan recalled.
was quite independent, and enjoyed
spending her time relaxing with
a good book or the newspaper.
also had a very dry wit.”
nephew Professor Zahir Quraeshi
(Western Michigan University)
used to always love to tease Saida
Khala when she would smile that
wonderfully impish grin, asking
her, ‘what are you smiling
about?’ I always knew it
was something she was recalling
with her special take on life.
observations on things like family
and life are fondly remembered.”
all her many gifts, Ammi had also
developed an artistic talent for
creating hand-drawn holiday cards
for Eid and Christmas, birthdays
and special occasions. I treasure
those personal artifacts,”
recalled Saida’s daughter,
Sabiha. “I was in awe of
all she accomplished in life.
She is a constant inspiration
was a no-nonsense kind of person.
She always challenged me to do
more and better myself,”
also imbued in all her children
a spirit of volunteerism and social
justice. I can remember as teenagers
volunteering at hospitals and
later life, at Crossroads Senior
Residence in Portage,” Ahsan
said, “Ammi worked in the
library and also at The Portage
Senior Center training people,
young and old, in the use of computers.”
Lincoln National Life Insurance
and computer giant IBM recognized
Saida Khan’s work as a pioneering
woman in IT.
received several commendations
during her tenure from both companies.
Sunday July 2, 2017, Saida Khan
ended her long and fruitful journey
and was laid to rest in the Ever-Rest
Cemetery in Kalamazoo. She joins
her husband, Muzaffer, who died
in March 2009.
attendance at her graveside were
her three children, grandchildren,
and their families, and a large
cross-section of distinguished
about Saida and how she quietly
left us very early this past Saturday,
July 1, it brings to mind a wonderfully
uplifting sentiment from Mahalia
in that great gettin' up mornin'
ye well, fare ye well)
in that great gettin' up mornin'
ye well, fare ye well).
to Ahsan Khan, Sabiha & Flossie
Arend, & Zahir Quraeshi )