Alyce Samen Hamatie was born in 1912 in Manhattan, N.Y. to the late Usta Samen and Alia Hatem Samen, both originally of Lebanon. In her early years Alyce owned and operated her own independant salon in New York City. During her younger years Alyce worked dilligently always helping her family and siblings. She was one of five children; her eldest sister Mary Samen passed away at a young age, as did her sister Najla Samen. Alyce had an older brother, John Samen, who besides being a World War II veteran also owned and operated many successful restaurants and venues. Alyce also had a younger sister, the late Virginia Samen Khouri, who passed away in 2004. In November of 1942, Alyce married the late Edgar D. Hamatie, who himself was a success story in business. They had two sons. The first, was the late Douglas Alexander Hamatie, who was in the U.S. military and was tragically killed in 1962 at 19 years of age while visiting the Pocono Mountains with his family at their summer home. The second was John Edgar Hamatie, who for over 35 years has been the Very Rev. Fr. John E. Hamatie of Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Orlando, Florida.
While living in Bay Ridge Brookyln, Alyce was very involved in the St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Bay Ridge. With the death of the church school superintendant Victor Joseph, Alyce was asked by Fr. Paul of St. Marys to take Victor's place. At St. Mary's peak with Almighty God's work and Alyce's dedication the Sunday School had well over 300 students enrolled weekly. With the passing of her husband Edgar in 1977, Alyce immersed herself in the work of Fr. John's church in Orlando. Alyce was very active in the Ladies Society and Sunday School having served as president in both capacities. Alyce also served for many years as a member of the Parish Council. In 1977, it was Alyce's dedication and love as an Orthodox Christian that helped in purchasing the beautiful church home of St. George's in downtown Orlando. When she was asked to loan the church $23,000 to cover the deposit in order to purchase the church building she did so, an interest free loan that wasn't paid back for many many years.
Whether it was Alyce's famous "International Dinners" or her famed involvment in Orlando's "Fiesta In The Park," her dedication, love and hard work, was unconditional. Her favorite thing to do was to attend services at her church in Orlando. She truly was an institution like none other. Whether her involvment in the Syrian Lebanese clubs in both New York and Florida or her days of raising funds for ALSAC and Danny Thomas' St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, Alyce never said "no" to anyone. Even later in life she was one of the first members of St. George's in Orlando to join the Order of Saint Ignatius. Her last Sunday in church was this past Palm Sunday and up until the very end she was helping the ladies clean as she always did. Alyce or "Mama Alyce" as she was known, fell asleep in the Lord on Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, a beautiful and blessed time to pass away during Holy Week. Her legacy in the Archdiocese and in her two churches will always be remembered as she is dearly missed. Alyce is survived by her son Fr. John Hamatie; her daughter-in-law Monique Hatem Hamatie; five grandchildren, John, Douglas, Marie Antoinette, Anastasia and Alexandra; and one great grandson, Isaac. Her services in Orlando and Brooklyn brought together many people, both old and new friends. She truly was a loss to the community. News of her passing made special headlines in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. Alyce was laid to rest in Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetary next to her beloved son Douglas and husband Edgar.
"Very, Very Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant."