Councilwoman’s daughter remembered for heart, moxie


Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — City Councilwoman Suzanne Sareini’s daughter, described as a “superstar,” died Jan. 17 at 43 years old.

Nowal Sareini-Shatila, of Dearborn, died of unknown causes after her husband attempted to wake her up that morning, her uncle Allen Mallad said.

Sareini-Shatila, a wife and mother of two boys, was pronounced dead on arrival at Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center in Dearborn, Mallad said.

But Sareini-Shatila’s life is what Mallad, Sareini’s brother, has chosen to remember.

“Nowal was something else,” Mallad said with a laugh. “She was the apple of everyone’s eye. She was an absolute genius.”

Sareini-Shatila graduated from Fordson High School in 1987 and was class president for four years and valedictorian. She later attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn and graduated in 1996 at the top of her class with bachelor of arts degrees in political science and sociology with a minor in communications and business.

During Sareini-Shatila’s funeral Jan. 18 at the Islamic Institute of Knowledge in Dearborn, Mallad said his niece did a lot with her life.

“It would take a day to tell you,” Mallad said to the crowd. “She helped her father and mother run their restaurant, Uncle Sam’s Village Cafe in Dearborn, and was the star of the business. She worked on every one of Sareini’s election campaigns for the last four elections. Nowal later became one of the most successful mortgage brokers in Michigan.”

Sareini said her daughter excelled in life.

“Everything she did, she was successful at, effortlessly.” Sareini said. “She was so generous and giving.”

Sareini said her daughter showed her love by preparing her children for the future.

“She was (so) focused on her chidlren,” Sareini said. “They are consoling me. If I had a message for anyone, (it would be to) tell your children how much you love them. Sometimes we push because we want them to do more and be better. Don’t forget to tell them how wonderful and amazing they are and just hold them. Nowal was amazing.”

Mallad said Sareini and her husband purchased his restaurant in the early 1980s and Sareini-Shatila worked with her parents while attending UM-D.

After graduating from UM-D, Sareini-Shatila opened up Dynamic Mortgage Inc. in Dearborn, which closed a few years ago.

In Mallad’s eulogy, he said Sareini-Shatila’s most important job was becoming a mother to her sons, 4 and 5.

“She has raised two of the smartest and (most) polite boys that any parent would be proud to have,” Mallad said. “She also did that as a superstar would. She taught her boys to do their prayers, and she taught them all about their religion. She

was the most dedicated mother I have ever seen in my life.”

Mallad said the family will not know the cause of Sareini-Shatila’s death for several weeks.

Memorial services were held on Jan. 18 and Jan. 19 at the Islamic Institute of Knowledge.

A seven-day memorial service was scheduled to begin Saturday at the Islamic Institute of Knowledge.

Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Bazzi said Sareini-Shatila’s autopsy is still pending and the official cause of death will not be known for a few weeks.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at