Dr. Alfred Habeeb

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dr. Alfred “Freddy” Habeeb, 98, passed away peacefully at home Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009.

He was born in the village of Bishmizzin, Lebanon. His family immigrated to the United States in 1920 and settled in Vicksburg, where Freddy and his siblings worked in the family’s grocery store while attending school. He graduated from Mississippi College in 1934 and attended the University of Mississippi’s Medical School for two years before graduating in 1938 from the University of Tennessee’s Medical School. Freddy moved to Birmingham in 1938 to serve his medical internship at TCI Hospital in Fairfield (later known as Lloyd Noland Hospital). He also completed his medical residencies in surgery and anesthesia at TCI Hospital, where he became a close confidant of the renowned Dr. Lloyd Noland, the hospital’s administrator.

Freddy was instrumental in the development of anesthesia as a distinct field of medicine. He studied anesthesia with other pioneers in the field at the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the Leahy Clinic in Boston.

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Freddy was affiliated with TCI Hospital until the early 1950s, when he and several colleagues established Alabama’s first private anesthesia practice.  Their practice grew over the years to become Anesthesia Services of Birmingham, one of the South’s largest anesthesia group practices. Freddy served as the first president of Anesthesia Services.

Over a long and distinguished professional career, Freddy served as director of anesthesia at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital; chief of staff of St. Vincent’s Hospital; president of the Alabama Society of Anesthesiologists; president of the Birmingham Surgical Society; member of the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association; and assistant professor of anesthesiology at the Medical College of Alabama. He also served as president of the Birmingham Rotary Club.

In 1992, Freddy was honored by the endowment of a chair at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, the Alfred Habeeb Chair in Anesthesiology.

Freddy was predeceased by his beloved parents, Alex and Loretta Habeeb; his seven siblings, Edward Habeeb, Maggie Habeeb Abraham, William Habeeb, Philip Habeeb, Touphie Habeeb, Shouphie Habeeb and Waddad Habeeb Buttross; and by many dear friends and colleagues.

He is survived by his devoted wife of 57 years, the former Carmen Bosch McCoy; cherished sons, Alfred Jr. (Judith), William Mark (Wendy) and Philip Alexander (Solange); dear grandchildren, Carter, Katie, Noah and Cris; and more than a dozen nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held today, Aug. 25, from 5 until 7 p.m. at Valley Chapel in Homewood, Ala. A service to celebrate Freddy’s life will be held Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 11 a.m. at Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham with burial at Elmwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in Freddy’s name be made to Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Ala.; the Alfred Habeeb Chair in Anesthesiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; St. George’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Vicksburg; St. Vincent’s Foundation of Birmingham; or the Birmingham Rotary Club.