Cover photo for Ali Sabeti's Obituary
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1940 Ali 2019

Ali Sabeti

September 28, 1940 — April 17, 2019

Ali Sabeti left this world on April 17th, 2019 at the age of 78 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease and dementia.

He was born on September 28th, 1940 at the Swedish Embassy in Teheran, Iran. In 1960 Ali landed in Chicago, Illinois with $75 in his pocket and knowing only three words of English: please, coffee, thank you. Once here he truly lived the American dream. He began his journey loading baggage for the Illinois Central Railroad. Ten years later he was working in the railroad's Executive Office and had earned a BS and an MBA along the way.

In 1970 he married Marcia Ginn in Park Ridge, Illinois. Shortly after that Ali relocated to Fairfax, Virginia with Marcia and their first child, a son named Alex, and started his 23-year career at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. A few years later their daughter, Mitra, completed the family. His time with the World Bank afforded Ali and his family wonderful travel experiences all over the world, including a three-year posting in Jakarta, Indonesia. Ali retired from the World Bank as a Division Chief and Senior Advisor in 1996 after working in Mexico, Columbia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Korea, and Indonesia.

Ali and Marcia moved to Durango, CO in 1998 and Ali soon started to apply his skillset to many of the volunteer organizations in town, which he enjoyed immensely. He first joined, as an original member, the Professional Associates of Fort Lewis and served as President at one point. He served as President of the council for Volunteers of America and was on the board of Mountain Studies Institute. He taught International Business at Fort Lewis College for two semesters. He mentored entrepreneurs for The Small Business Development Center. He was also instrumental in helping the San Juan Symphony, Volunteers of America, and Mountain Studies Institute qualify for Enterprise Zone designations as a fund-raising inducement for them.

One of the greatest joys of Ali's life was the birth of his grandson, Huck Alexander Jay on January 13th, 2012. Huck's first word was "Baba", the Persian word for grandpa. Huck and Baba bonded from the beginning with many of their similar characteristics being uncanny.

Ali was the first to admit he had led a charmed life filled with rich, rewarding experiences, and countless good friends. He was devoted to both his nuclear family and family of origin. When asked recently what he would like to be remembered for he answered simply, "For helping people."

Ali is survived by his wife, Marcia, two children, Alex Sabeti of Los Angeles and Mitra Jay of Thailand, and, of course, his beloved grandson, Huck Jay. Also a brother, Asghar Sabeti of Tehran, Iran, and three sisters, Gity Sabeti of Tehran, Iran, Mali Alwood of San Luis Obispo, CA, and Maryam Mostowfi of West Dundee, IL.

A memorial service will be announced in the future. In lieu of flowers, donations would be most appreciated: Volunteers of America (; Mountain Studies Institute (; Fort Lewis foundation (; or The Shanta foundation (

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ali Sabeti, please visit our flower store.


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