James Abourezk, a South Dakota Democrat died at his son’s home in Sioux Falls on his birthday after entering hospice care earlier this week, his son Charles Abourezk said. He was 92. Abourezk is survived by his wife and other family members.
Abourezk was an attorney and Democratic politician who served as a United States senator and United States representative from South Dakota.
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He served four years in the United States Navy following World War II. After his military service, he returned to South Dakota and married Mary Ann Houlton in 1952. The couple had three children Charles, Nikki, and Paul. He divorced Mary Ann in 1980.
Mary worked as a dental assistant and supermarket cashier during the initial years of her first marriage and later she became a bookkeeper in Rapid City. In October 1995, she married John Jones. She died on August 2, 2012, at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. She was 79.
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In 1982, Abourezk married Margaret Bethea. They later divorced.
He met Sanaa Dieb, a restauranteur at an embassy event in Washington. In 1991, the two got married, and several years later moved to Sioux Falls where she opened an award-winning restaurant. James and Sanaa have a daughter together.
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Sanaa Abourezk is a Gourmet Chef, restauranteur, nutritionist, blogger, and author. She owns and runs a popular Middle Eastern Restaurant in Sioux Falls. She did a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Engineering from Damascus University and a Master’s degree in Nutrition from California State Polytech University, Pomona. Sanaa attended cooking school in Florence, Italy, and the Cordon Bleu Baking School in Paris, France.
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Apart from his wife, Abourezk is survived by his four children Charles Abourezk, Nikki Pipe On Head, Paul Abourezk, and Alya Abourezk; step-daughter, Chelsea Machado; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.