Zahra (“Zari”) Ashtiani Meymand of Dallas, Texas passed away on November 26, 2019, at the age of 90. Zari was a pillar of the Iranian/American Community in the United States. She was born on July 14, 1929, to parents Dr. Esmail Ashtiani and Malekeh Moolook Ashtiani. Her father was a renowned artist and poet in Iran who was a student of the celebrated Kamaloolmolk there. Dr. Ashtiani’s works are on display in the Majless Museum (Parliament) of Iran.
Zari was the youngest of four siblings, and grew up loving art and education. Growing up in the 1930s and 40s, there was limited opportunity in higher education for women like Zari. Despite the limitation, Zari persevered and earned a master’s degree in English Literature. During her career as an educator, Zari was selected as a Fulbright International Scholar from Iran and traveled to the United States to study.
Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Zari and her family moved to Dallas and, over the next 40 years, she became a leader in the Iranian Community of Dallas. Having been the principal of a large vocational school in Iran, she came to Dallas with an open heart to teach the children of Iran how to read and speak Farsi in order to preserve their heritage. Because of this, many Iranians who moved to the United States and then to Dallas met and bonded with Zari. She was known for her kind and diplomatic nature, which she brought to bear in the causes she championed. Her influence is still felt today in the political organization known as the Iran Society (ANJOMAN IRAN), which has become a model for many others in this country. Zari and her husband, Nasser Meymand, were among the founders of the Iran Society and helped maintain the Iranian culture and bonds within the Iranian Community. Zari organized many important cultural events, such as Norouz, and lead efforts each year to cook Iranian dinners for up to 1,000 people, which was a first in the United States.
Zari is survived by her husband, Nasser Meymand and her children, Cameron Afkham Hakimi, Lili Afkham Hakimi, Faye Beerman, Morvarid Shaffer and Samira Meymand. She has five grandchildren, Jeremiah, Christina, Christopher, Shahaneh, and Zachary Daryoush.
Zari will be missed tremendously by the many people whose lives she touched. Her funeral service will be held on Sunday, December 1, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home, 2525 Central Expressway North, Allen, Texas.