Shawky Tadros was born 85 years ago in Egypt, and has lived one heck of an interesting life. He got out of the Middle East as it became unstable in the 1970s, and went to Germany to get his Ph.D. in Chemistry. He taught there for awhile, and came to the United States, where he was a chemistry prof at Alabama A & M until 1992. He said with enthusiasm, “I wanted to come to America because it is the best!” I think that sometimes people who choose our country as their own, and go through the sometimes daunting process of becoming naturalized citizens actually love America more. At least, that seems to be the case with Shawky, who became a U.S. citizen in 1985.
Life has had its share of bumps, though. He was married for 16 years, and his “wife had a one night stand. I didn’t like it,” he told me. They divorced, and then for many years he had a girlfriend. They had one child, Alexander, who is 47. Alexander has a wife and two children, all of whom live in Munich, Germany. I didn’t ask what happened with the girlfriend.
Shawky loves all kinds of chemistry: applied, organic, and especially food chemistry. Since coming to Athens Rehab and Senior Care, he did comparative research on the number of grams of protein contained in pinto beans versus kidney beans, and turned in his findings to the staff. It turns out that kidney beans have more protein, and they are also his favorite. The kitchen has listened to his request, and he said, “Some people here have been poor, and they need that extra protein!”
He is most comfortable with a computer, uses “Google” as a verb, and while he may be in a wheelchair, he’s as sharp as can be, and cracks jokes constantly with the staff. He has two favorite staff members, Amanda and Holly. He also loves it at Athens Rehab. He has been other places, and says, “It’s very nice here.”
We moved on to the subject of favorites.
Favorite color? “Amethyst.” Not purple, mind you, amethyst.
Favorite food? As mentioned above, kidney beans.
Favorite book, next to the Bible? The college textbook entitled “Food Chemistry.”
Favorite movie? “The Sound of Music,” he said with delight.
Favorite scripture? Ephesians 5:29, No man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. “Take care of people,” he said. Shawky is a Coptic Christian, and proudly showed me a flow chart he had made of the Old and New Testament.
Favorite President? “Jimmy Carter.”
Advice to young people? He had quite a bit to say. “Have a hobby. Have your friends be from the same religion. Don’t worry about mistakes that have been made, but look to the future. Attend church and do Bible study every day. Do different activities every day. Don’t smoke, and don’t make friends with smokers.”
And there you have it! Words of wisdom from Dr. Shawky Tadros, proud Egyptian-American, retired Chemistry professor, and happy resident of Athens Rehab and Senior Care.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner