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Alauddin Ismail Samarrai

February 27, 1931 ~ August 23, 2019 (age 88)

Dr. Alauddin I. Samarrai, age 88, of Reedsburg Wisconsin, passed away suddenly on Friday, August 23, 2019 at his home.  Dr. Samarrai was born on February 27, 1931 to Ismail and Shafiqah (Al-Badri) Samarrai in Iraq.  At the age of 21, in 1952, Dr. Samarrai arrived to the U.S. as a student completing his B.A. in Mathematics and his M.S. and PhD in Medieval History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  During that time, Dr. Samarrai met his beloved wife, Janet (of Richland Center) at UW Madison and were married on March 14, 1958.  The quintessential educator, Dr. Samarrai taught high school mathematics at Boscobel High School (1960) and South Milwaukee Senior High School (1965), before completing his PhD in Medieval History in 1966.  Afterwards, Dr. Samarrai began his professorship at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin before settling in to an eventual tenured professorship at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where he taught Medieval History and was also the Director of Middle East Studies (1972-1995).  During his time at St. Cloud State University, Dr. Samarrai took sabbaticals to teach at the University of Riyadh’s College of Education in Abha, Saudi Arabia as well as at Kuwait University. 

An accomplished academic and scholar, Dr. Samarrai had numerous publications in scholarly journals and books in the fields of Medieval History and Linguistics.  In addition to his love of history, he had a passion for reading and keeping up with current events as well as scientific theories in physics and astronomy and always enjoyed discussions around those topics

Upon retiring from St. Cloud State University, Dr. Samarrai and his wife Janet returned to Wisconsin, settling in Reedsburg where he enjoyed spending the past 18 years in their home where he loved the peace and beauty of nature in Wisconsin.  He very much enjoyed the frequent visitations of deer to his backyard, and the many birds—cardinals, hummingbirds, and more - that would visit the bird feeders daily in the summer. 

Most of all, Dr. Samarrai loved his immediate family.  He was a wonderful provider for his family and worked hard all of his life to insure that his wife and children never wanted for anything.  He really loved it when all of his children and grandchildren would come to visit.  He was extremely proud of and adored his grandchildren, spending time together on the deck for a BBQ, visiting the Wisconsin Dells, mining for gems at Dell’s Mining Company, or going to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum over the years that they were growing up.  The best of grandfathers, he always took a deep interest in his grandchildren’s interests and academic accomplishments throughout their lives. 

Dr. Samarrai is survived by his loving wife, Janet, to whom he was married 61 years.

Children: Son, Sami of Madison, WI, daughters, Andalusia “Dovey” (Amine) Khechfe of Cupertino, CA, and Andrea (Rich) Zietko of Madison, WI.

Grandsons: Alexander “Alexi” Khechfe Of Cambridge, MA, and Andreas Khechfe of Cupertino, CA.

Sister and Brother: Mounifa Samarrai and Adnan Samarrai of Iraq.

Graveside funeral services for Alauddin will be held Friday, August 30, 2019, at 1:00 pm, in the Catlin Chapel,  at Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, WI. 

Farber Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

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