The love story of Richard and Nohade Boorady is just as captivating today as it was in the beginning. It involves courage, perseverance, sacrifice, and the willingness to embrace a new country for the sake of love.
The couple graciously answered a number of questions during a recent visit to their lovely home.
Nohade LaAsmer came to America in December of 1959. A graduate nurse, she had received her degree at the French University in Beirut, with additional studies at the Central Laboratory of Clichy, Paris, France, and the Jules BoBordet Institute in Brussels, Belgium. She worked for a time at St. Vincent's Hospital in Erie and furthered her studies in isotopes there. During that time, she resided with an uncle. That summer, she met and began dating Richard Boorady, a Dunkirk businessman.
Nohade and Richard Boorady’s wedding photo. The couple was married on Dec. 9, 1960. The couple went to Lebanon for a honeymoon and Nohade was unable to return for many months.
Their mutual attraction grew into love. Although they talked of a possible engagement, nothing was formalized. So on Dec. 9, 1960, Nohade left the area to visit a relative in Danbury, Conn., with plans to return to Beirut on Dec. 12. Richard couldn't let her go. He drove all night from Dunkirk to Danbury to propose, much to her surprise. She accepted, and canceled her plane reservation.
On Jan. 2, 1961, Richard and Nohade were joined in marriage at St. Mary's Church in Dunkirk. A reception followed at the Park Avenue Hotel.
When asked about the difficulty of planning a wedding in three weeks, Nohade smiled and said, "He planned everything. Except the dress. The groom wasn't supposed to see that before the wedding."
Richard added, "She was busy contacting her family in Lebanon, who were shocked."
Mr. and Mrs. Boorady left for a honeymoon in Beirut on Jan. 11. They anticipated a four-to-six week trip. However, four months later, the couple was still in Lebanon.
Due to restrictions attached to the foreign exchange student program, Nohade was prohibited from returning to the United States for two years. The Booradys requested a waiver, but the case was mired in red tape. Although Mr. Boorady needed to return to the U.S. for business purposes in May, he announced his willingness to return to Lebanon to be with his bride. He recently commented that his sister Betty, an ambassador with the State Department, also suggested that his return to the United States could help expedite the process.
In December of 1961, Nohade was able to return to this country. The Booradys settled into their life in Dunkirk, which now included baby Roy, who had been born in Lebanon. Their family eventually grew to include six sons and seven grandchildren.
Dr. Roy Boorady is a child psychiatrist associated with the Child Mind Institute of New York (City). He also specializes in pharmacology and is in great demand as a speaker.
Albert is an Actuary with Erie Insurance. He and his wife Rebecca have two daughters, Victoria and Chloe.
Charles is vice president of Triple Tree Investing on Wall Street. He and his wife Karine have a daughter Nayla, and sons Marc and Paul.
Dr. Joseph Boorady and his wife Dr. Theresa Boorady are optometrists in Medham, N.J. He is the Director of Business Development at Zeiss Meditech, traveling to Germany monthly as well as frequent trips to the West Coast. They have two children, Justine and Luke.
Thomas and his wife Jodelle live in New Jersey. A graduate of Cornell with a degree in engineering, he is a certified municipal engineer in Lincoln Park. Andre recently married Kristina, and lives in Fairfax, Va with their daughter Brianna. He is a 401 K specialist with ASCENSUS and vice president for the Virginia and D.C. area.
Reflecting back to the waiting period before her return to the United States, Nohade said she fulfilled her obligation of training people to use the machine that the university had purchased and she had become an expert in using.
She continued her passion for nursing throughout her life. She did private nursing duty at Brooks Hospital, and also some home care for Will Care. She said that she enjoys going to lectures and seminars to hear about the latest developments in the medical field. She and Richard participate in the Silver Sneakers program at the Dunkirk Senior Center, where they exercise three mornings a week.
Richard retired from his position as laboratory manager of Boorady Optical in 1997 when the family business was sold. He has been a lifetime member of the Lakeside Club. He was honored for his 53 years of service with the Knights of Columbus. He is a third degree member of Dunkirk Council 929 and also of the Fourth Degree.
The couple spoke lovingly of their mothers. Richard acknowledged that his mother supported him and helped him to plan the wedding. Nohade said that her mother had difficulty with the decision, because Nohade was the baby of the family. Her mother eventually came to the United States to help during the late '70s, when Albert was seriously ill with a ruptured appendix, and Nohade was also caring for baby Andre at the time. Mrs. LaAsmer stayed for a year to assist.
Despite the difficulty in leaving Lebanon in 1961, Nohade has returned "almost every year." She said that she was most recently there last summer, and is considering going again later this year. They both discussed the dangers of travel in this day and age.
Richard said, "Things have changed so much. It's a different world now."
Nohade added, "I wouldn't take six little boys with me overseas now!"
Their six little boys have grown up to be exemplary citizens. It could never have happened without the resolve of two dreamers who changed their courses to follow their hearts.