Alfred Joseph Saliba, born February 23, 1930, died at home in the city of his birth, Dothan, Alabama, on Sunday, July 15, 2012. The second son of Lebanese immigrants, Joseph Elias and Marie Violet Saliba, Alfred lived most of his life in Dothan, attending public schools, working as a teen in a local shoe store, and returning as a young adult to establish a business and nurture a family in the city he loved. A proud graduate of the University of Alabama's School of Engineering, Alfred spent two years actively serving in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Japan and Korea. In 1955, while visiting his sister Norma in Tuscaloosa, he met, adored, and soon married Henrietta Carpenter of New Hope, and their marriage provided a foundation for parenting three children, Annamarie, Fred, and Mark, all of whom reside in Dothan.
After working with his father at Dothan Roofing and Remodeling, Saliba built a successful business bearing his name which includes homebuilding, residential and commercial real estate, neighborhood development, and commercial construction. He was especially proud that both sons joined him in those enterprises, and the family business, Alfred Saliba Corporation, grew. Saliba wisely partnered and invested in other local businesses and real estate ventures, and in 1999 and 2011, he was inducted in the Business Halls of Fame for the University of Alabama and the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, respectively.
Beginning with Dothan High School's Class of 1948, Saliba, an Eagle Scout, served as president, chairman, or trustee of almost every group or organization he belonged to. He led the engineering school, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Dothan JayCees, Chamber of Commerce, Wiregrass United Way campaign, and many community boards. In every civic endeavor, he brought to those positions a keen mind, a businessman's expertise, and a heart for the community, demonstrated in service with The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Hawk-Houston Boys Club, and Evergreen Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder. He rose to the rank of Captain in the U.S. Air Force Retired Reserve.
Motivated by a desire to "give back" to the city he loved so much, from 1989 through 1997, Saliba served two terms as the city's mayor. Commitment to improving the city's infrastructure, recruiting new business, and providing opportunities for underserved families became the hallmarks of his tenure. Working with other visionaries, he helped establish a Family Services Center, which centralized education, childcare, and access to resource agencies. It became the prototype for 17 similar organizations throughout the Southeast and now bears his name.
Saliba is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 57 years, Henrietta; a daughter, Annamarie Saliba Arens (Bill); two sons, Alfred (Fred) J. Saliba, Jr. (Dale) and James Mark Saliba (Angie); nine precious grandchildren, David Raymond Saliba (Elizabeth), Emily Rose Proctor (Richard), Laura Saliba Ellis (Russell), Adam Joseph Martin, Benjamin James Saliba, Abby Saliba Rogers (Zach), Daniel Anthony Martin, Rachel Lisbeth Saliba, and Hilton Elias (Eli) Saliba; an adored great-granddaughter, Layla Rose Rogers; two dear siblings, Norma Saliba Hanson (Bill), and Joseph Elias (J.E.) Saliba, Jr. (Verna); several nieces and nephews; and countless friends. He was predeceased by his parents, and an older brother, Raymond Joseph Saliba.
A memorial service will be held at Evergreen Presbyterian Church, 1103 North Pontiac, at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 18, followed by a private graveside service for immediate family. Reverend Doctor Joseph Johnson will officiate, assisted by two of Saliba's grandchildren, Rev. David Saliba (Montgomery, Alabama) and Rev. Emily Proctor (Baltimore, Maryland). Additional seating with video will be available in the church fellowship hall. Friends may visit the family at Evergreen from 5:00 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17. Memorial contributions to the Alfred Saliba Family Services Center or Evergreen Presbyterian Church would celebrate Alfred Saliba's lifelong compassion and generosity.