Evalynne Corey Hajjar, 100, passed away on June 21, 2023 surrounded by her loving family. She has lived in Milton, Massachusetts since 1980 with her three children and her husband of 61 years, Jack Hajjar.
Despite living in Milton for 43 years, if you asked Evalynne where she was from, she would have given two other answers. One: "I'm no New Englander, I'm an Okie," she'd say in her charming southwestern twang. She was born in Oklahoma in 1922 to Charles and Helaine Corey, immigrants from Lebanon. She grew up helping her mother, "Mama Corey," in her restaurant, though she dreamed of running away to Hollywood—and in fact, one day did, but turned around for her mama's famous apple pie a couple hours into the journey.
The other answer she might have given was that she was a "citizen of the world." Indeed, Evalynne was much closer to that title than most people after traveling to over 30 countries, including Antarctica, India, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, and Venezuela, making friends in each of them. "I always have my suitcase packed," she'd say when a trip was suggested. Even something as simple as a grandchild’s school field trip would solicit an enthusiastic request to tag along as a chaperone.
Evalynne loved seeing the world so much that she made a career out of it. She worked for the Saudi Arabian delegation to the U.N. during its golden years from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. She served as a secretary and event planner for King Faisal al Saud and often traveled on his behalf to various U.N. events including the organization's first international meeting in Paris, arriving by ship on the Queen Mary. She often told stories of her stay at the Hotel de Crillon, where she'd bid Eleanor Roosevelt and John Foster Dulles a good morning as they waited for their cars to the day's meetings.
She spent the rest of her time living in New York City, meeting heads of state, celebrities (she witnessed Marilyn Monroe's famous flying skirts), and experiencing the unfolding of the Cold War. At one U.N. general assembly meeting on Oct. 12, 1960, Evalynne watched Nikita Krushchev, the Premier of the Soviet Union, historically brandishing his shoe in rage when the USSR was criticized for its nefarious interference in Eastern Europe.
Immediately after the meeting, she would have rushed to tell her then-boyfriend about the debacle since he was on his bimonthly visit to the city to see his future bride. "It was love at first sight," Jack always says, "there was never a dull moment." They met in 1959 in Chicago at a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, an organization they've supported for over 60 years.
Evalynne and Jack were married in 1961 in New York City. To those who had the privilege of witnessing their marriage, it was marked by family, love, generosity, faith, and plenty of impromptu kitchen waltzes to Frank Sinatra.
Out of all the incredible things Evalynne did, the triumph of her life was this very marriage and the legacy it created. And despite her lighthearted resistance to being labeled as a New Englander ("Life up north can be so uptight!"), Milton was not only her home, but home to her legacy. She and Jack lovingly raised three children, Lanie, Chuck, and John. Her eleven grandchildren—Anthony, Andrew, Jaci, Charles, Carine, Christopher, Nicholas, Maria, Richard, Victoria, and Sydney—and two great grandchildren—Jack and Cora—had the privilege of growing up just down the street from their grandmother, or “Sittee” as they called her.
Evalynne always would say that she lived life to the fullest. “I did it my way.”
Evalynne's Funeral Service will be held Monday, June 26, 2023 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of the Annunciation Melkite Cathedral, 7 VFW Pkwy WEST ROXBURY. Visitation will be held in the Cathedral beginning at 9:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Evalynne’s memory may be made to the Cathedral or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
Evalynne will be laid to rest at Blue Hill Cemetery in Braintree.
Our Lady of the Annunciation Melkite Catholic Cathedral
7 VFW Pkwy, West Roxbury MA 02132
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105