Ihsan Ali Saib
1925 - 2016
Ihsan Ali Saib, also known as Ihsan-Bey, made his way to paradise on Sunday, May 22, 2016. He was comforted by friends, family and the wonderful staff of Sarah House in Santa Barbara where he spent his last days. Born in Kirkuk, Iraq on Sept 18, 1929 he was educated as a teacher in Bagdad. He came to the United States in 1955 where he studied and graduated from UC Berkeley with a Master’s Degree.
Ihsan enjoyed helping people, whether it was training Peace Corps volunteers for service in the Middle East, foreign students who were adjusting to American culture and schools, American students who were studying Arabic or Turkish, or friends who were having a difficult time.
After coming to Santa Barbara in 1974, he was one of a small group that founded the Islamic Center of Santa Barbara many members of which came to pray with him and chant Koran during his last days giving peace to him and his wife of 56 years.
Ihsan was proud of his sons, David and Joseph, both of whom graduated from local schools and the UC system. Together with their wives, Chika and Safieh, they gave him 9 grandchildren, most of whom were at his bedside as he passed away.
He loved Turkish and Arabic music, and was part of the UCSB Middle East Ensemble for many years, helping in pronunciation and translations of lyrics. He enjoyed singing in the chorus, sparring with the leader of the ensemble as to whom was the best Arabic musician in the last century, serving as part of the ensemble’s board and introducing students in the ensemble to some aspects of Islamic culture.
He had a lifelong interest in calligraphy, occasionally giving lectures, and giving children instruction in Arabic calligraphy. He helped one of the now leading calligraphers in the US start his study of the Arabic language and encouraged him to go to Turkey to study with one of his friends who is probably the world’s best calligrapher.
Ihsan volunteered for many organizations, serving as a leader for the Boy Scouts and a soccer coach for the AYSO. Probably his favorite task was as president of the Goleta Photography Club for many years, where he enjoyed helping others learn some of the finer points of photography.
His family and his wife, Sabina, would like to thank all those who visited him and helped him during these last days and months—especially those who came to share their love of music with him.
Ihsan was buried on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at the Santa Barbara Cemetery.