Oscar Dee Dawahare, who once co-owned the Dawahare's clothing store chain with his family, died Thursday at age 90.
Often called "Mr. Dee," Mr. Dawahare was the vice president and head of operations for the children's clothing division of the Dawahares chain, which closed in 2008. The chain, including Hoover's Furniture, had at one time 35 stores in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Ohio.
Mr. Dawahare, who lived in Lexington, was a master of customer service, according to relatives.
"He was a great people person. He loved people. They loved him. He really understood customer service," Mr. Dawahare's nephew Harding Dawahare said Saturday.
Mr. Dawahare's wife, Patsy Darnell Dawahare, recalled how if a person complimented him on his tie, he would often take it off and give it to them.
"He felt if someone complimented his tie, he wanted them to have it," she said.
One of eleven children, Mr. Dawahare was born in Neon in Letcher County.
His father, Serur Frank Dawahare, had come to New York City from Damascus, Syria, around 1900 and met his mother, Selma, said Harding Dawahare.
Mr. Dawahare's parents later moved to Appalachia, where Serur Frank Dawahare carried a peddler's pack through the coal camps before opening the first store in Letcher County.
Aside from working in the family business, Oscar Dee Dawahare was known for his willingness to donate his time and money to people who needed his help.
He supported many charitable organizations, his wife said, such as the Wounded Warrior Project and a Lexington Women's Club project that provided clothing for underprivileged children.
But Patsy Dawahare said her husband was "very private" about his good works.
Mr. Dawahare was instrumental in the formation of the Dawahare Hall of Fame in association with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, according to his obituary. He served on the boards of the Community Trust Bank and Pikeville Hospital.
Mr. Dawahare was the past president of both the Pikeville Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Mountain Club. He was a World War II Army veteran.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Dawahare is survived by his four children, ten grandchildren, two brothers and two sisters.
Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Kerr Brother's Funeral Home on Harrodsburg Road. A funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, at Southland Christian Church, Building B, on Harrodsburg Road.