Yousef Nawas, Founder of Nawas Travel, Passes Away at Age 95

Yousef Suleiman Nawas

Yousef Suleiman Nawas
November 23, 1914 – November 1, 2010

It is with great sadness that we must let you know of the passing of Yousef Nawas, founder of Nawas International Travel. Surrounded by his family, he went to be with our Lord and Savior last week at the age of 95.

Travel Industry Pioneer

Mr. Nawas was a pioneer in the travel business and had a long and distinguished career. Born in Taybeh, North of Jerusalem, he graduated from Terra Sancta College, Jerusalem in 1933. As a young man he had an idea: to bring travelers to the Holy Land, an area he both knew and loved. In 1949, he established Nawas Tourist Agency in a small room in the Old City of Jerusalem, and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

He was first and foremost a family man and Nawas Travel is a reflection of his beliefs. In addition to his children, several nephews and nieces are involved in managing the business, including George Khoury in Darien, CT, Olga Nawas in Jerusalem, and Issam Tadros in Amman.

International Company

Through his vision and hard work, Mr. Nawas expanded the company into an international organization that today is still family-owned and managed.

He also held important posts with ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) and UFTA (Universal Federation of Travel  Agents). He received countless awards for promoting international goodwill through tourism.

Today, Nawas International is the leader in Catholic Pilgrimages and Protestant group travel to Europe and the Holy Land. In fact, we are the largest Christian tour company handling Americans to the Passion Play of Oberammergau. We are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of service and finest travel experience possible at competitive prices.

His Legacy

As a family-owned company, we are grateful for the legacy of Yousef Nawas and prize the reputation we’ve earned for integrity and quality for nearly 70 years.  We look forward to honoring his legacy and continuing his dream for many years to come.

He will be remembered for his sharp and bright mind; his keen business sense; his dignified and proud demeanor and his contributions to educating young minds. He will be dearly missed by his family, his employees and his friends, but his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of the many people he touched.



Yousef Nawas touched the hearts of many people. The outpouring of condolences from our valued clients has truly been a blessing. Below are just a few of the many messages we have received.

“I am saddened by the news of your father’s death. Even though he lived to a good age it is I am sure still an extremely difficult time for you and your family. Thank you for enclosing the picture. He looks like a real gentleman who has accomplished a lot over his lifetime. Just think of the impact, especially in bringing people to the Holy Land. Sami, my prayers and thoughts are with you during these days. If there is anything I can do to be of help, please let me know. Prayers and blessings to you and your family,”

Pastor Vanderzwan

“What a wonderful life and legacy.  Think of the thousands of people who have been profoundly affected by the vision and faith of this great travel pioneer. I know God will bless his family and friends with comfort as they mourn this great loss.”

Pastor Garrison

“My sincere condolences to the Nawas family and to all who work at Nawas Travel Agency.  The legacy of promoting pilgrimages to the Holy Land is more relevant today than ever.  May the dream of Mr. Nawas continue and be a contributing factor to bring about peace in that blessed land.”

Fr. Escalera

“Sorry to hear about your loss.  He sound like a great man and has left a wonderful legacy.  As God holds your father in His arms, may the grace of  Christ surround you and your family during this time of grief. Grace & Peace,”

Pastor Tollefson

“May God grant you comfort in your time of loss.  With our sadness comes also the joy of knowing that Yousef lives in the eternal presence of God, redeemed by Christ the Savior. Peace to you!”

Doug Iben

“I’m sorry for your loss.  We commend him to God’s care.  You and your family are in my prayers today.
Peace, ”

Pastor Mattson

“My deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family. The loss of one’s parents is a very difficult time and one never gets over it. It sounds like he was a very good and caring man and he did much for International Travel. My prayers are with you and your loved ones.”

Father Shea

“It was with sadness that I received your message, and I offer you my sympathy. While I did not know Mr. Nawas personally I feel like I have known something about what he stood for as I worked with you several times. While the days of my accompanying groups may be over I look back on the trips you facilitated as wonderful experiences and expressions of not just a business but a work with a heart and a mission. I trust the legacy will continue and am grateful for at least touching it at a distance. In His Grace,”

Pastor Ackles

” That’s a really nice tribute, Sami, and very well written. Again, my sincere sympathy for your loss.”

M. Burgess

” That’s a really nice tribute, Sami, and very well written. Again, my sincere sympathy for your loss.”

M. Burgess

“Since I am rather new to the “Nawas family”, I’m not sure if this is your father or your uncle, but I’m guessing Mr. Nawas was your father.  What a wonderful long life he lived – and what a great legacy of business and travel he created for your generation and those to come!  I am so sorry for your loss, and I know you will miss him.  I am grateful that you know the peace of comfort that only our Lord can give – and that helps a lot. Blessings on you and your family in the days and weeks ahead,”

Ms. Smith

“My deepest sympathy to your family and employees, Sami.  Thanks for letting the rest of us who value your company know about Yousef.  Blessings on you,”

Ms. Alexander

“May the dear Lord comfort you and your loved ones during this season of separation.  My own mother is nearly 95 years of age.  I understand your sadness.   Yousef Nawas left a proud legacy.  Precious to the Lord is the death of His saints. In Christ,”

Noreen Jacks

“I wish to express my sincere condolences for the passing away of Yousef Nawas earlier this month.  Undoubtedly, you and your family will cherish many fond memories and lessons from him in your hearts for many years.  I assure you of my prayers for the eternal repose of his soul.  May Yousef and all the faithful departed rest in peace with the Lord!”

  Fr. Cortez

“To you , your family and dear colleagues my sincerest condolences and please be assured of my prayers and he will be remembered in my Mass intentions. RIP.”

Fr. Eric Swearingen

“Thank you for sending the notification of your father’s death.  I have been keeping him in my prayers since we last spoke.  Please know that he will be especially in my prayers tomorrow morning at Mass.  May you and your family be comforted by your happy memories and the love of God in your hearts. With continued prayers,”

Father Zapfel

“So sorry to hear of you loss.  I will be sure to remember him at mass in the coming weeks (though I am on “leave” I still do mass at home frequent).  Be assured of my prayers at this time of loss, but what a wonderful life Yousef led and what a great legacy he has left for your family and all those who have had the opportunity to travel with your groups.”

Dr. Morse

“Please accept our sympathy and prayers at the death of Yousef.  May the Lord grant him peace and eternal rest. May you, and your extended family, take comfort  in the promise made by Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Resurrection of the dead to all who believe.”

Deacon Burke

“Sorry to hear of your loss. May God ease your suffering, console you with His presence and reward you with great patience. May He send His Spirit of Love to sustain you during these difficult times.”

Deacon Johnson

“My prayers are with you and the Nawas family at Yousef’s passing. We are thankful for his realized dream of opening the doors to Israel and other parts of the world to us. God’s richest blessings,”

Pastor Reese

“I’m sorry to hear about the passing away of Yousef Nawas.  The passing away of some one near and dear is a painful experience, no matter how old that person may be.  We no longer have the physical presence of that person.  May I extend to you and the Nawas family at this time of your loss my sincere condolences and prayers! May the loving and merciful God give Yousef eternal rest and peace!”

Fr. Narivelil

“Thanks for sharing the information regarding your father.  What a man of vision and faith. Our deepest sympathies go to you and your family, but your grief can turn to joy as you know he has gone home to be with his Savior and Lord, Jesus the Christ. Blessings to you and your family.  Christ is risen.  He is risen indeed!”

Pastor Kieschnick

“Dear Sami and family, I will remember Yousef at Mass and pray that our God will comfort you in your time of need. May his memory be eternal and may he rest in the peace of Christ. With love and deepest sympathy,”

Fr. Crahen

“What a sad event.  I’m sure everyone in your organization feels a terrible loss.  With his legacy behind you, I know my interaction with your group will be both honorable and fulfilling. I am touched and send my prayers for your continued good works.

Ms. Lowrey

“Please accept my deepest sympathy and prayers for Yousef.  He lived a full life.  He is with God now.  His true pilgrimage of life is complete and he has reached the New Jerusalem full of peace.”

Fr. DiCicco

“I am so very sorry to hear of yours and your families loss. Be assured of my prayers. God’s Love and Blessings,

Deacon Falotico

“I am currently attending meetings with our mutual friend Ferrell Jenkins in ATL.  He had earlier shared with me the news re: your father’s death.  We are mindful of you in your time of loss.  He has left a wonderful legacy.”

Pastor Mauldin

“Please accept my sympathy and prayers on the loss of your father.  It seems he lived a blessed life, and now shares the reward of eternal life with our loving God.  May he now rest now in peace. Blessings,”

Fr. Dennis

“May God surround you and your family with His peace at this time. You are in our prayers.”

Pastor Deuel

” I was so sorry to hear about the passing of your Father.  He had a wonderful and long life and a wonderful family.  We should all be so fortunate.”

Ms. Shetz

“My prayers are with you all during this “temporary separation.”  For we in Christ know where are loved ones are waiting for us. I thank God you were given such a wonderful man to be a part of your family and who by God’s grace was able to touch so many people in this life time.  Thank God for him and for his family.  My faith growth because of my travels with your company will never be forgotten.”

Pastor Werdin

“Our prayers are with your family, that the Lord Jesus will shower you with his promises to Yousef. Pax Christi!”

Pastor Shoemaker

“I am so sorry to hear of Yousef’s passing. He must have lived a full and wonderful life with so many great accomplishments. May you all be comforted and may he rest in his eternal peace. Thanks for sharing and you and the whole family and company with be in my and Church’s thoughts and prayers. In Christ,”

Pastor Witkop

“It is with sincere sorrow to hear of the passing of Yousef Nawas, founder and dearest family member of the Nawas Travel Company.  Special prayers will be offered this day for his soul and the entire Nawas family sorrow.  With deep sorrow.”

Pastor Keysor

“I am sorry to hear that and I will Mr. Nawas in my prayers as well as the family. May our Dear God continue to bless the Nawas family.”

Fr. Fili

“Sorry to learn of the death of a love one. It appears he had a long and productive life, will keep him in my prayers.”

Deacon Greene

“I am sorry for your loss, but grateful for the blessings you recognize in Yousef’s life.  Know that you and your family are in my prayers.”

Fr. Michaels

“Please accept our sympathies at the occasion of the death of your father. Be assured of Fr. Rowland and my prayers at this occasion.”

Fr. Howard

“Sorry to hear about your dad (?)- the founder of the business.  It sounds like he had a very good life and is leaving a great legacy.  We are sorry for your loss … We will keep you and your family in our prayers … ”

Ms. Danyo and the travelers to Oberammergau, Sept, 2010

“My condolences to you, your family and those who make-up Nawas Travel. My prayers are with you all and I will remember Yousef when I celebrate Mass tomorrow and this weekend.”

Fr. Ramón

“Yes, we heard of his death while in Jerusalem – with Olga. Our Prayers and Condolences are with you and your family. JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!!!.”

Deacon Dick

“I am saddened to hear of the death of your father. Please be assured that I will remember him and your family in my Masses and prayers. One day I hope to go on one of your pilgrimages; as a retired priest, I no longer have access to parishioners and so I have no contacts to organize a pilgrimage. If you ever need a chaplain, please inform me. Again, my Masses and prayers go with you  in this time of sorrow. Blessings.”

Fr. Donat

“Please accept my most dearest condolences on the passing of Mr. Yousef Nawas.  My prayers are with you, your family and the NAWAS travel family. God’s blessings upon you. In Christ,”


“Thanks, Sami, for letting us know.  I did get to meet him one time at the Seven Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives.  Sandy and I will be praying for you and your family.”

Ms. Bone

“Although it has been many years since I have hosted a tour (in retirement I’ve had a very limited constituency to call upon), nonetheless I appreciate receiving your emails.  I want to express my sympathy to you upon the death of Yousef Nawas who, I assume, was your father.  I remain grateful to you and your company for the service you provided on several occasions. Peace and hope be with you.”

Pastor Nilsson

“So sad to hear. I am sorry and my deepest condolences to family and all who knew him and loved him.”

Erika – Happy Nawas Client and Customer

“Thanks Neil for sharing this information on the passing to the Lord of Mr. Nawas. We will remember him and his family in our prayers. Yes, Nawas is a wonderful company.”

Msgr. Moore

“Requiescat in pace!  Please know I will keep Mr. Nawas in my prayers. Peace”

Fr. Totton

“My deepest sympathy.  May God be with his family and friends.”


“One with you and the entire Nawas Travel family in celebrating his life and legacy … in prayer and remembrances … may he rest in God’s glorious peace. Amen.”

Fr. Chito

“I am very sorry about the loss of Yousef. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.”

Pastor Stamper

” I am sorry to hear this and I grieve with you.  Was he your father?  He helped change many people’s lives through the trips that he helped plan and provide for.  May God’s grace and peace be with you in these days of grief.”

Pastor Kanouse

“Thank you Neil for the very moving e-mail concerning Mr. Nawas.  I know he will be missed …   Thank you for all your help in the past.

Pastor Stanford

“I am so sorry to hear the bad news about Mr. Nawas.  My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.  Personally I never met Mr. Nawas, but from what I have read about him, he was a good man.  May the Lord continue to provide his blessings to the Nawas family and the company.”

Fr. Rios

“As a person who has travel with Nawas I am in offering my sympathy for your lost.  Mr. Yousef Nawas did great work in providing Christian Tours. Please accept my condolences’ and you all will be in my prayers.”

Ms. Anderson

“I am saddened to hear about Mr. Nawas’ death.  I offer my condolences to you and to all the family and staff.  I will remember everyone in my prayers during this time of loss.God bless,”

Fr. Hesse