A. Wali Naibi, 75, passed away from Covid Pneumonia April 21, 2023, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Wali was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. His growing up years were spent in Italy, Turkey and India due to his father’s diplomatic service. From his high school in Kabul, Wali was selected as an American Field Service exchange student and went to California, where he played quarterback on the Dos Palos HS football team and refined his English skills watching The Brady Bunch on TV.
Wali attended Kabul University and received a grant to the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii, a program established to promote intercultural understanding between Asia and America. There he met Jackie, a grant recipient from Indiana and earned a Masters Degree in Political Science, also playing on the UH soccer team. Daughter Nilufar (Persian for water lily) was born in Hawaii and the family spent 6 months in Afghanistan, returning to Indiana where he began a banking career. In 1976, the Bicentennial Year, Wali became a proud US citizen and since 9/11 always flew an American flag at home.
After moving to a bank in Minnesota, daughter Mariam (meaning “beloved”) came along, and from Minnesota, Wali was sent to London to cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It was during this time that Wali became a torch carrier for the 1984 Olympics, a once in a lifetime experience. There were memorable family travels in the UK, Europe and North Africa, before returning to Minnesota, where one cold February night, Wali was offered an opportunity to transfer to Phoenix, the offer being immediately accepted.
Upon retirement, Wali taught business classes at Western University, while he and Jackie had many self-guided travel adventures in Japan, the UK and Europe, with a special love for Ireland. He is warmly remembered by friends in North Yorkshire, Holland, many dear Afghan friends in the US, a sheep farmer in Wales, and an Iraqi immigrant in Spain. In addition, Wali was dedicated to volunteer work and gave time at Paint-a-thons, Habitat for Humanity projects, the Small Business Administration, the neighborhood HOA, cooking Afghan meals for charity auctions, the MIM, Mayo Clinic, as a steward for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and Foothills Foodbank, making many friends and pals along the way.
At heart, Wali was an avid flyer of kites who created and flew traditional Afghan kites which are fragile, light and able to soar to very high altitudes. On one occasion, Wali was flying his kite from the roadside when a neighbor stopped by and asked, “Hey Wali! Do you have FAA clearance for that?”
Wali enjoyed gathering the family, entertaining, hiking, quiet mornings, watching backyard birds, gardening (sowing wildflower seeds at home in Minnesota and Arizona), checking his rain gauge, cooking Afghan style, old movies, John Wayne, and British TV. In 2002, much loved granddaughter Hannah was born brightening everyone’s life. She was the apple of his eye.
Wali was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, hospitable, generous, kind hearted, broad minded, hard working (a work ethic passed on to his daughters), unpretentious, enjoyed hands on projects, could fix anything. Cultivating a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of world affairs, Wali read several international newspapers in English every day. With sadness, his memories were of a more peaceful, progressive, tolerant Afghanistan.
Wali is survived by his wife of 54 years Jackie, daughters Nilufar, Mariam (husband Loren and family), granddaughter Hannah, and sister Zohra and family.
Wali will be dearly missed by numerous folks whose lives he touched. It’s as if he has gone out to Brown’s Ranch to be a Pathfinder and will be returning home soon. He will forever remain in our hearts with many endearing memories.
The family would like to thank the fine doctors, kind nurses and professionals who cared for Wali at HonorHealth Thompson Peak.
Those wishing to honor Wali can make a donation in his name to the Foothills Foodbank, where he and Jackie have volunteered for over 12+ years. https://foothillsfoodbank.com/donate/