Elias “Lee” Najm, 85, of Wellston, passed away on Saturday evening, November 2, 2013. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon on July 14, 1928. As a young man, he held a prominent position with the Lebanese Government. In 1952 his sister, Violet, brought him to Buffalo, New York, where he worked for Bethlehem Steel. It was in Buffalo where he met Helen Joseph of Wellston who was attending college at the University of Buffalo. They married in 1953 and returned to Wellston where in 1954 they opened Lee and Helen’s Family Restaurant on Second Street. In the 1970s Lee opened Lee’s Lounge adjoining the restaurant. Helen passed away in August of 1984. After a brief attempt at retirement in 1992, Lee opened the current Lee’s Steakhouse on Pennsylvania Avenue. Lee was a lifetime member of the Elks and a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
Besides his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents, Youseff and Nour Milan Najm; brother, Halim (Saide); brother, Tanios; sister, Yvonne (Toufic Massad) and their children, Michel and Emiel; sister, Marvie (Amine Madi); sister, Violet (Georges Williams) and their son, Samy.
Lee is survived by his long-time companion, Lucinda “Cindy” Kessler.
His surviving family are: daughters of Halim: Noel, Claire, and Violette; children of Tanios (Angel Massad): special niece Rita, Rebecca, Joe, Raymonde, and Sabah; children of Marvie: Robert, Gabi, Roland, Bishop Edgard Madi, and Toufic; children of Violet: Daniel, Ozzie, and Georges; and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
After nearly 60 years in business, Lee had become an icon. He dearly loved the children. He also leaves behind many special employees who called him “Dad” and many, many dear friends and patrons.
Friends may call at the Jenkins Funeral Chapel in Wellston on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Rosary will follow on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Wellston with Bishop Edgard Madi officiating. Father Donald Maroon of Wellston and Father Joseph John Trapp II of Jackson will be co-celebrants. Burial will follow in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Jackson, Ohio. The family requests that memorials in Lee’s memory be made to the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 227 South New York Avenue, Wellston, Ohio 45692.