Karim (Kay) Nasser first spotted Dora walking across the campus grounds of the University of Beirut, in Lebanon. Kay was studying to become an engineer. Dora was studying to become a teacher. But their paths didn’t literally cross at university, although Kay claims that he “did better on his exams on the days that he saw her.”
With encouragement from his mentor and head of the Department of Engineering, Kay answered an “engineers wanted” newspaper ad for Tapline (Trans Arabian Pipeline Company). The construction project, an oil pipeline terminal, was to be built in Sidon. And directly across the street from Kay’s new apartment was Dora’s family home. Clearly, it was fate!
But the marriage was a long time in coming. Kay knew that further education was key to success and he was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Kansas, to pursue his Masters in Engineering, with the full support and encouragement from his employer. Dora and Kay were married, finally, in Lebanon, on April 11th, 1955.
The idea of immigrating was not a new one for Kay. His grandfather had worked and lived in the USA for most of his working career, prospering and sending financial help back to the rest of the family. Growing up, Dora had imagined that she would live her life in Lebanon, teaching until marriage. Their first posting together was to Saudi Arabia, and then on to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a compromise which was closer to some of Dora’s relatives. Dora became the Assistant Editor of the Alumni Magazine at the University there, a job that she calls “a Godsend”. They had their first three daughters in quick succession, Selma, Mona and May. In order to truly succeed, they realized that further education was needed. Dora returned to Lebanon, to her parent’s home, with their three daughters, for three more years, while Kay worked and studied and eventually earned his PHD of Engineering, at the University of Saskatchewan. They wrote each other weekly, a trunk-load of letters, and Kay was careful to finally bring his family home- to Saskatoon- in July.
Dora was 36 when she started listening to CBC, and she has listened ever since! She continued her studies, first to graduate school and then achieving her Batchelor of Education, with distinction. She truly believes in life-long learning. During that busy time, two more children were added to the family, Roseann and John. Kay was teaching, consulting and constructing in Saskatoon. In 1964, the Bank of Montreal lent them the dollars needed to construct their own apartment building. They have prospered.
The Nasser’s firmly believe that family comes first. They have looked after their family. Their gifting of education – U of S scholarships for university students in financial need- has become a priority. In addition, they are able to give back to their “greater” family, the community at large, through their family fund at the Saskatoon Community Foundation.