Dr. Samuel Hackel Shaheen was born on March 10, 1928 in Utica, New York to Hikel (Ike) and Hafeeza Shaheen and attended public schools there. He entered Syracuse University at the age of 16, majoring in Chemistry. Sam then attended the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and graduated with his doctor of osteopathy degree.
Dr. Shaheen interned at the Saginaw Osteopathic Hospital and practiced medicine in the Saginaw area, living in Bridgeport, MI. Some of his patients were farmers and factory workers and he was often paid in produce and homemade products. Dr. Shaheen’s mission was to provide his patients with the best care, often making house calls in the evenings and weekends. In his lifetime, he delivered over 3,000 babies.
He helped build a mobile home park he was developing in Bridgeport after working at his office all day. Dr. Shaheen understood the need for specialized care for elder people and fulfilled this by building various retirement communities. His primary concern was always for his patients. Sam was in the medical field for 60 years, renewing his medical license in his eighties because of his interest in the medical field. He said that he thought of everything other than his medical practice as merely “a hobby.”
Sam married Patricia Anne Ramah in 1965 and they raised three children. He recruited the members of his family to help him with work around the properties. He was proud of Saginaw and boasted of the hard-working residents in the area. Dr. Shaheen instilled in his children the need to spend their time volunteering and to bring the best cultural and medical services that they could to the surrounding community. He encouraged others to do the same.
He and his family created the SSP Associates, Inc. responsible for renovating a K-mart into Horizons Conference Center and the 43 acre Uptown Bay City complex along the Saginaw River. He supplemented his own and neighboring communities with conference centers, office buildings and restaurants.
The Garber Management building, MCVI/St. Mary’s building and Huntington Bank are all part of the revitalized Washington Street Corridor in Saginaw. He always said, “I make things.” Today there are over 43 properties in Saginaw County and its surrounding area that are overseen by SSP Associates, Inc.
Sam was an avid supporter of religious and other charitable organizations, especially the arts. His vision and love for the community earned many awards including the “Vision of Free Enterprise Award”, now named the “Samuel Shaheen Vision of Free Enterprise Award.” The “Good Neighbor Award”, “Historical Preservation Award”, “Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation”, “Wally and Irene Bronner Spirit of Sharing Award” and “The Spirit of St. Vincent Award” presented by St. Mary’s of Michigan Foundation was awarded to him.
Sam was a Grand Marshall in the annual PRIDE Christmas Parade with his wife Patty. He took pride in restoring and rebuilding many structures that could have been slated for demolition, such as the Temple Theatre. He not only had it restored but left an endowment to the community for its care.
His greatest achievement though was his love for his family and how he taught them to support their community by his example. At his funeral a get-well letter from his grandchildren was displayed to their “Gidu”, Lebanese for grandfather, proclaiming him “king of the Shaheen family.” Over 800 people attended the funeral.
Dr. Samuel Shaheen died August 14, 2013 and was inducted into the Saginaw Hall of Fame in 2018.
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