Obituary of Chafik Chamoun
Chafik A. Chamoun, 85, owner of Rest Haven Restaurant, died December 8, 2017 at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, TN. Visitation is Monday, December 11, 2017 from 9:30-11:00 AM, with funeral services following at 11:00 AM at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Clarksdale, MS. Burial will be in the Oakridge Cemetery. Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
Mr. Chamoun came from Lebanon to America through Ellis Island in 1953. He was a member of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Chafik arrived in Clarksdale, MS in 1953 with his wife, Louise, and great expectations of a wonderful life in America. Neither of them spoke fluent English, but it wasn't long before they learned the language and began to make a life for themselves. Chafik worked various jobs starting out at $30 a week working for his uncle, but it wasn't long before he became known as the "Rawleigh Man" and sold these products for 19 years. He was a natural born salesman and sold goods out of his van to those people living in the rural parts of Coahoma County. Louise and Chafik had six children by 1964. When more income was needed for this growing family, they purchased a grocery store in 1968 that was eventually named Chamoun's Grocery. Louise helped run the store so Chafik could continue other employment opportunities to support their large family. The majority of his years were spent at Ritchey Motors. In 1990, an opportunity arose for them to purchase Resthaven, a restaurant that had been in the Joseph family for many years. Chafik decided to purchase the restaurant, changing the name to Chamoun's Resthaven, and said goodbye to Chamoun's Grocery. The rest as they say is history. Chafik took great pride in offering a place for the Clarksdale community to congregate to talk about farming, politics, sports, and whatever else was the topic of the day, in addition to providing his customers with the wonderful food his wife prepared. As Chafik got older and started developing health problems, his children encouraged him to slow down and even suggested he sell the restaurant. To Chafik, this was not an option. He felt strongly that Resthaven was part of the community, and it would be a disservice to the people of Coahoma County if they were not allowed to continue meeting at one of their favorite places. Resthaven is much more than a restaurant: it is place for forging friendships, completing business transactions, and creating memories for the people of Coahoma County. Those who are regulars of Resthaven know that it has a life and culture of its own.
Chafik passed along his strong work ethic to his children, especially his daughter Paula, who took over the management of Resthaven when he was no longer able to manage the day-to-day operations. As proud as Chafik was of the prosperity of Resthaven, his family brought him far more joy and pride than any of his business successes. He worked hard, not so that he could amass more earthly treasures, but to leave a legacy behind for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He had a generous heart, and he was determined that his family would reap the benefits of his financial success.
Chafik was a man of faith and gave God the credit for all of his accomplishments. He was a man of integrity and honesty, and he passed these attributes along to his family. Despite many setbacks along the road of life, Chafik persevered. He was never one to give up. He always said that America was the greatest country in the world, the land of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard. His presence will be sadly missed by his family, friends, and the community at large. Well done, good and faithful servant.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Louise Freige Chamoun; two sons, Robert Chamoun of Southaven, MS and Paul Chamoun (Shannon) of Conway, AR; three daughters, Liz Spurlock (Bryan) of Ashland, KY, Paula Jackson (Paul) of Clarksdale, and Mona Ungefug (Bret) of Hot Springs, AR. He is also survived by two brothers, George and Joseph Chamoun, both of Collierville,TN; and two sisters, Issaf and Insaf Chamoun, both of Lebanon. He leaves behind twelve grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Abraham and Nazha Gattas Chamoun; daughter, Vivian Pernell; and granddaughter, Emily Spurlock.
Memorials may be sent to St. Jude Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, or
St. Elizabeth Catholic School, 150 Florence Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614.