Mussallem Family

P08975 - 1925c
Hanny & Solomon circa 1925

In 1897, Solomon Mussallem left his native Lebanon and travelled to Canada.  In 1905 he married Annie Besytt, also Lebanese, and they had seven children.  Sadly, their first child died in infancy.  George Mussallem was born in Winnipeg in January of 1908, and four more children, Nicholas, Mary, Helen and Peter, were born in Prince Rupert.  After a short time in Vancouver, the Mussallems settled in Maple Ridge where their last child, Lily, was born.

Solomon Mussallem started the Haney Garage in 1919, which became a Ford agency in 1924.  In 1930 Ford was dropped and it became a GM agency.  Sol was an active member of the municipal government, serving 23 years on council, 21 of those years as Mayor.

P08918 - 1941
The Mussallem family in 1941 with Hanny and Solomon in front. Back row from left: George, Peter, Helen, Lily, Mary, and Nicholas.

George Mussallem was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and moved with his family to Prince Rupert and Vancouver, settling in Haney in 1919.  For most of his life he was involved with the automobile industry and with community service.  The family business was active in the area for 88 years representing General Motors.  In 1966 he was elected to the Provincial Legislature, serving four terms as MLA until 1983.

George was active with many organizations but was particularly dedicated to his participation in Boy Scouts, where he was President of the Executive Committee for B.C. and was awarded the Silver Acorn.  For twenty years he served as Superintendent of the Sunday School at St. Andrew’s United Church.  He was President of the Motor Dealers’ Association of B.C., a member of the founding convocation for Simon Fraser University, and served on the Board at Douglas College Foundation.  An avid pilot, he attained his licence in 1929 and actively flew his own airplane into his late 70’s.  In 1983 to honour George’s service to his community, he was awarded the status of Freeman of the municipality for both Maple Ridge and Mission.  George was elected in four B.C. Provincial Elections, and served in the B.C. Government as Social Credit M.L.A. for Dewdney Constituency.

p02700 - 1954
George and Solomon in 1954, posed behind a table holding a lamp and trophy that were both awarded to them for 25 years of service to General Motors.

George’s first marriage was to Beth Brown in August of 1934, and they had three children; Anne in 1936, David in 1937 and Robert in 1942.  Beth passed away in 1962 and George later married Grace Cuthbert in 1970.  George passed away on April 10th, 2007.

Helen Mussallem was only six years old when her family came to Haney.  She was encouraged, like her brothers, to study hard and excel in school.  She went on to study nursing at Vancouver General Hospital and was later hired on as a staff nurse.

Helen served as a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps during the Second World War, and returned to Canada to earn her first degree at McGill University.  She continued her education at Columbia University in New York, completing both her Masters and Doctoral degrees.  Topping her long list of honours are the prestigious Officer of the order of Canada in 1969 and Companion of the Order of Canada in 1992.

P05147 - 1969
Helen Mussallem in 1969

Helen was considered to be one of the top nurses in the world and spent many years working with the World Health Organization developing nursing and triage systems for underdeveloped nations.  She remained active until her passing in 2012.