Mustafa (“Moose”) Husseini lived a life that was possible only in America. He was born in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1935, and enjoyed a childhood where he had both Palestinian and Jewish friends. But as he approached his late teenage years, he realized that Jerusalem’s future was likely to entail endless conflicts between two groups of people claiming the same land. After graduating from Jerusalem’s St. George School, he determined to come to America for college to seek a life free of conflict.
He emigrated to the U.S. in 1955. After beginning college in Decatur, Illinois, he soon moved to College Station, Texas to attend Texas A&M University. That began a love of Aggieland that continued until his final days. He double majored in English and Math, while working full-time managing a local diner. There he had the good fortune of buying eggs for the restaurant from the local egg farmer, D.D. Catalena, who himself was a second-generation immigrant from Sicily. The Sicilian Catholic and the Arab Muslim became the most unexpected of friends.
That friendship led to the most important event in his life when he was introduced to Mr. Catalena’s niece, Lena Marie Catalena of Houston. It was love at first sight and began what became a fairy tale romance. They were married in 1963 and recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. Their devotion to each other is what most couples can only aspire to achieve. While conversions to Catholicism were challenging in this time period before Vatican II, he was not held back. He embraced Catholicism as he did his beloved Lena.
As with many immigrants, he was determined to assimilate as fully as possible into American culture. He was an avid student of the grand American experiment that our Founders put in place. He was quite proud of becoming a U.S. citizen. He instilled his profound love of America into his only child. He was determined to do all he could do so his son could unlock the full potential of the American dream. He also embraced the entrepreneurial spirit of America and its endless optimism. Sometimes his unbridled enthusiasm led to business setbacks, but his confidence for the future and faith in America never abated. Unsatisfied by his successful career in office management, he decided to open his own restaurant. For many years, he along with his wife Lena operated his beloved Moose’s Restaurant in Bellaire, Texas, reminiscent of his first job.
His passion for Aggie football continued through the end of the 2020 season when he passionately believed the Aggies were inexplicably omitted from the college playoffs. He predicted 2021 would finally be the year. The only competitors to Aggie sports in his esteem were his two grandsons Titus and Victor. It would not be possible for a grandfather to have more love for and derive more joy from his grandchildren. Special thanks to his loving caregivers Kimberley Robinson, Velma Wright, and the team from PAX et VITA Homecare who cared for him with such love the last couple of years. He will be sorely missed.
He was preceded in death by his parents Faiz and Wafeeqa Husseini, his sister Roqia Husseini, nephew Keith Husseini, and nephew Mahmoud Bushnaq. He is survived by his wife of 57 years Lena Catalena Husseini; son Richard Husseini, daughter-in-law Elizabeth Husseini, and grandsons Titus and Victor Husseini; sister Ghadeer Husseini and nieces Nida and Huda Zada; brother Farouk Husseini, sister-in-law Elisabeth Husseini, and nephew Kevin Husseini; and nieces Wafeeqa, Wafa, Suhad, and Suher Busnaq.
A Catholic Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at ten o'clock in the morning at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on 1111 St. Joseph Parkway, Houston, Texas. The Rite of Committal will take place at Earthman Resthaven Cemetery following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Texas A&M University, the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, or a charity of your choice.
The funeral mass will be streamed live at https://www.sacredhearthouston.org/funerals.