Our friend and old classmate, Ahmad Haroon, passed away on June 16, 2010. He was only 63. We are honored to have been a part of his life. He was loved by all and will be sorely missed.
I was able to attend his prayer service and the burial but will always regret that I could not visit him earlier. A gifted leader, a compassionate man and a very good friend, he was.
From our engineering college days, to our lives in the USA we did remain connected mostly via emails and phone calls. I knew that we all wanted to get together, once in a while, but there were always challenges of scheduling. Above all Haroon was a dedicated community member. I remember visiting him in the late 80's and he showed me the site where the Rochester Islamic Center now proudly stands.
I met his family members and I prayed to Allah [swt] to give them the courage to continue being the torchbearers for their community and the family. May Allah[swt] give Haroon his place in Paradise.
Haroon, as a leader and having a penchant for good cuisine, took over the management of the menu during the 3rd year tour in 1967. He was known as “Abba” during the tour. Very apt for him as his fatherly stature always loomed over us – over 6’ in height and close to 180 lb – while most of us weighed much less.
Here is a picture taken in Swat Valley during our 1967 NED West Pakistan tour. In this picture, from right to left, are Ahmad Haroon, Shahid Qureshi, Wajahat Siddiqi, Khalid Razaki, Jawaid Saeedi and Najamul Hasnain. These are our memories, now.
After graduating from NED he took up a job with Premier Tobacco and soon was assigned as their Factory Manager in Swabi [then NWFP] where K-2 cigarettes were made. I, after a one-year stint at a pulp & paper mill in Gharo joined OGDC and was posted as an Asst Engineer at their Tut Oil Field in Tehsil Pindi Gheb, District Campbellpur. I remember visiting him once in Swabi during my off days and we both discussed our impending move to the USA.
Haroon and I arrived in the USA to start our respective MS courses in the Fall of 1971. He started his Industrial Engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana while I started my MS in Mechanical Engineering at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. Our first Christmas break in the USA was spent together as I was able to hitch a ride to West Lafayette to spend a week with him. After graduation Haroon briefly worked at a gear manufacturing plant in Spencer, Iowa as an Industrial Engineer but then he moved to Rochester, NY to join Xerox. Rochester was his home now. He got married, raised four kids and progressed up the ladder in Xerox’s corporate & engineering world. He retired in the early 2000’s and set up businesses, like convenient stores and an insurance agency, to name some. I remember several conversations with him over the phone and the salient point that I remember was that he was a leading member of the various teams creating cutting edge Xerox products.
I first met Haroon in Technical High School in late 1958. He was a year ahead of me. We had few things in common. Our Principal at Technical School, Mr. Niaz was a family friend of Haroon’s father and my father. We also met frequently for table tennis. One thing which still sticks out in my mind from school days was his cute smile.
We became close friends in NED college, where Jawaid, Khalid, Najam, Haroon, Ather Saeed and I always hung around together. From study sessions to picnics to bridge games, we really had good times together. Later, we met few times in U.S. Haroon and his wife visited us in Chicago in mid 80’s and later, I along with my whole family visited Haroon in Rochester, N.Y. in early 90’s. Since then we stayed in touch through telephone and emails. My last conversation with him was in late 2009.
The Haroon I knew was a God-fearing, spiritual, sincere, committed to Masjid & his family. I pray that Allah
(SWT) accept all his good deeds, forgive his mistakes and grant him a place in Jennah. Ameen. I also pray that all his children live up to
Note: Ather Saeed ("Baba") was appointed to Sind High Court in 2005 and then elevated as a Supreme Court Judge in 2011. He retired from the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2014. In 2010, at the time of Ahmad Haroon's death, "Baba" was on the Bench of Sind High Court.