Halaby, Najeeb Elias, Jr.

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Najeeb Elias Halaby Jr. (Arabic: نجيب إلياس حلبي‎; September 19/November 19, 1915 - July 2, 2003) was a United States businessman, government official, and the father of Queen Noor of Jordan.


 Early life and ancestry

Halaby was born in Dallas, Texas. His father was Najeeb Elias Halaby Sr. a Syrian Christian, who emigrated to the United States from Syria in 1891. Najeeb Elias Halaby Sr.'s father was an Elias Halaby, provincial treasurer or magistrate in Ottoman Syria, who also came to the U.S. in 1891. Najeeb Elias Halaby Sr. worked as an importer and later an oil broker. In the mid-1920s, Najeeb Elias Halaby Sr. opened Halaby Galleries, a rug boutique and interior-decorating shop, at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, and ran it with his wife. He died shortly afterward, and his estate was unable to continue the new enterprise.

Najeeb Elias Halaby Jr.'s mother was the former Laura Wilkins. Following her husband's death, she married Urban B. Koen, but they ultimately divorced. Halaby's maternal grandfather was John T. Wilkins, who served in the 7th Tennessee Cavalry during the Civil War.


He was a graduate of The Leelanau School, a boarding school in Glen Arbor Township Leelanau County, Michigan, and is enshrined in that school's Hall of Fame. An alumnus of Stanford University (1937) and Yale Law School (1940), he served as a U.S. Navy test pilot in World War II.

After the war he served as the U.S. State Department's civil aviation advisor to King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, helping the king develop Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Next he worked as an aide to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal in the late 1940s, then helped Paul Nitze write NSC 68.

He joined Laurance Rockefeller's family office in 1953 reviewing investments in civil aviation.

From 1961 to 1965, he served as the second Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, appointed by President John F. Kennedy. Halaby was a proponent for the creation of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which occurred during his time in the Lyndon Johnson administration. From 1969 to 1972, he served as CEO, and chairman after 1970, of Pan Am. As Pan Am chairman, he was present at the christening of the first Boeing 747 aircraft.

 Marriage and issue

He was married three times,

first in Washington, D.C., on December 24, 1945 to Doris Carlquist, whom he divorced in 1977. They had three children: daughter Lisa Halaby, who would ultimately become Queen Consort of Jordan; son Christian, now a composer and guitarist; and daughter Alexa, a University of Pennsylvania squash champion who was a bridesmaid at the 1986 wedding of Maria Owings Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He was married to the former Jane Allison Coates from 1980 until her death in 1996.

From 1997 until his death in 2003 at age 87, he was married to the former Libby Anderson Cater.