Friends, neighbors and family remembered the kindness and joyfulness of Mohamed Shaibi, a 38-year-old father of three who died this weekend from the wounds he suffered during an early morning fire that broke out last week in his family’s apartment above the store he managed at 24th Street and Treat Avenue.
The fire was extinguished quickly but left the building in ruins and the whole family in two different hospitals around the city. His 13-year-old daughter remains in critical condition.
Shaibi came to the United States from Yemen in 1995 with his parents, three brothers and one of two sisters. Shaibi’s mother leased the building at Treat Avenue and 24th Street and ran the corner store before settling in Stockton. Shaibi, who was 18 when they arrived here, eventually took over operation of the store while also managing a different property in Stockton and running another store on 24th Street. His hope, said Shaibi’s twin brother Muthana, was to provide a better life for his children, ages 6, 13, and 16.
“My brother, I’ll miss him all my life, we’ve always been together,” said Muthana Shaibi. “He respected everybody, he helped everybody, he never had a problem with nobody.”
A nearby resident, who has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years and did repairs for the Shaibi family, remembered Shaibi in the same way.
“The whole family was kind,” said the neighbor who did not want to give his name. “Everyone in the community loved him, he was a good father, a good friend and a good son too.”
Josh Arce, Shaibi’s neighbor for six years, remembered watching Shaibi’s children grow up in the neighborhood and getting child-rearing advice from the 38-year-old father.
“He was a kind man who wanted to be a part of your family and welcomed you into his,” Arce said. “This is truly a sad day for the community.” He said that the community owed it to Shaibi’s family to support them in any way they can.
Carmen Benedet, who provides tax services on Treat and 24th streets, recalled chatting casually with Shaibi as she purchased occasional necessities at his store, often at a reduced price. Once, she recalled, she was in a rush to mail some packages and Shaibi gave her all the stamps he had in the store.
“I don’t like people” said Benedet. “I should say that I am very nitpicky about people, but he was good people. He was a very nice, good family man…he was a sweet man to me. He was a good neighbor, I am very sorry for his kids.”
Tim Haselman, a neighbor, wrote into Mission Local, “All I can tell you is that he and the entire family at that store were charming, joyful, sweet people. It was always so impressive to me that they took the time to learn Spanish on top of already having to learn English and they sounded fairly fluent to me. That alone always made me really like them. They would give me a warm greeting, share a funny little tidbit or chit-chat with me and just always made it a pleasure. I could go in there with my dog and grab a few things and it just breaks my heart that this poor family is now torn apart and this small part of our community is gone forever.”
At the Mission Girls Club on the corner of 24th and Harrison, Thalia Andrade remembered Shaibi even though she had never known his name. She said groups of girls used to go to the corner store on Fridays to stock up for their traditional Junk Food Friday. Sometimes, Andrade said, Shaibi wouldn’t even charge them for some items. His all-around kindness was reflected by the whole family.
Managers at Praxis, a sewing and handcrafting shop across the street from the Shaibis’ apartment, have started accepting donations on behalf of the family.
Muthana Shaibi extended his thanks to the community for their willingness to help, but insisted that the family has a widespread support system of family and friends and is primarily concerned about the well-being of the Shaibi daughter who remains in critical condition.
If you knew Mohammed Shaibi and would like to share any memories of him we have not included, please feel free to leave a comment or to email us at email@example.com.