Omaya Hassan Charaf Johnson was born in Damascus Syria, on April 23, 1923, to a Lebanese mother and a Syrian father, Hassan Mahmoud Charaf M.D. He was a physician to (and rode with) Prince Faisal of Arabia and T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia) during the Arab revolt of 1916. Omaya was the eldest of six children and grew up in a Muslim/Christian home and attended a private school run by French Franciscan nuns. Both greatly influenced her entire life.
In November of 1948, she left her home with the blessings of her parents to study in England. It wasn’t long before she was introduced to Keith Morley Johnson and they were married. In 1953, they welcomed their first child Lesley Nadia, followed 16 months later by Hilary Sonia.
After 10 years in London, a new adventure presented itself. In 1957, the family boarded the final voyage of the SS United States and sailed for California via New York.
In the 60s, they settled in Laguna Beach and welcomed their two boys, Adrian and Eric. To Omaya, the location and view of the ocean from the house was reminiscent of her grandparents’ home in the Lebanese hills and the view of the Mediterranean coast.
This was also the start of a new and very meaningful chapter for Omaya. She would begin what turned out to be 40 years of child care in her home. She loved what she did and took great pride in nurturing so many children of Laguna Beach.
Omaya was preceded in death by her husband, Keith, her brother, Fouad, and sister, Lamia. She is survived by two daughters, Lesley Nadia, Hilary Sonia, her husband Michael, and their two sons, Trevor and Dillon, son, Adrian Philip, his wife, Tanya, and their two children, Stefan and Rachelle, and son, Eric Paul.View Our User Comment Policy