Cover photo for Ellen Hanania's Obituary
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1936 Ellen 2024

Ellen Hanania

March 9, 1936 — April 12, 2024

Indianapolis

Ellen Hanania, nee Shamonki, passed from this life on April 12, 2024. She is survived by her sons Maher Hanania (Ludmila) and Marwan Hanania (Denisa); her brother, Marcus; grandchildren Ellen, Julia, Daniel, Max, Elijah, Caleb, Nicholas, Tomas, Vanaja; and many much-loved nieces and nephews.

Born on March 9, 1936, she was proud to have been raised within the walls of the Old City. Whenever someone asked where she was from, Ellen would square her shoulders, lift her chin, and announce in a voice intended to awe, “Jerusalem.” By the time Ellen graduated from the Rosary Sisters School, she spoke Aramaic, Arabic, and English fluently and knew a smattering of French.

Aramaic by birth, Ellen grew up worshiping at the Monastery of St. Mark’s and the Virgin Mary. It is believed to be located on the site of the house of Mary, Mother of Mark the Evangelist and claims to be the first church in Christianity.

Ellen had a gift for hospitality with guests raving over her delicious Middle Eastern cuisine. No matter how much people ate, she encouraged them to “eat more” even if they were all guests in someone else’s house. For years, she and her husband invited friends and family over and visited others in her community to share a meal five or six nights per week. She especially loved dancing parties where she and Nakhleh waltzed and tangoed long into the night.

Sabeel Theology Center played an important part in her later years. She and her friends took food, clothing, and other much needed items to the elderly in outlying Palestinian villages. They also attended lectures and toured religious and historic sites in Palestine.

She loved new experiences traveling to Greece, France, Portugal, Iraq, Cyprus, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and across the United States. Whatever she did, whether baking rock biscuits, dressing fashionably or cleaning her home, she did with excellence.

Ellen Hanania was preceded in death by her husband, Nakhleh Hanania; parents Jabra and Shmoneh Shamonki; her brother, Abdo Shamonki; and sisters Azizeh Sama’an, Rihaneh Ghattas, Hanneh Meshki, Mary Shamonki, and Mary Kutlo.

On April 17, 2024, a celebration of Ellen’s life will be held at the church she claimed as her own while in the States, Holy Cross Lutheran, 8115 Oaklandon Rd, Indianapolis, Indiana. The family will accept condolences starting at 9:00 am. Service will begin at 10:00 am followed by a graveside service and interment at Old Oaklandon Cemetery.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ellen Hanania, please visit our flower store.

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