Henri Zefta, Booster for Children’s Downtown Restaurant, Dies at 88

Henri Zefta.

Henri Zefta, who played a significant role in his children’s downtown Haverhill restaurant, died March 17.

He was born Aug. 9, 1934 and passed away at the age of 88. Zefta was the eldest of eight children and he met his wife, Laurice, at the age of 22 and they have been married for the last 64 years. They had four children together: Marie, Issa, Kamal and Jamal. He was proud of his children’s accomplishments and was always excited for the next challenge in their business careers. He renovated the historic building in downtown Haverhill known as The Galleria Banquet Room at Maria’s. His incredible craftsmanship allowed the room to keep its authenticity with steel construction and brickwork.

His five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren were the apple of his eye and the biggest joy of his life. He would always make sure that the grandkids were in great spirits by preparing meals with his own personal touch after picking them up from school. Zefta began his professional career as a technical welder offshore drilling with Texaco/McDermott in Lagos, Nigeria, until his retirement. Him moving to the United States to rejoin his family in 1990 was a milestone event for the entire family.

He was known for his smiley face, joyful spirit and always looking at the positive sides of things. He cherished nature and gardening, but his all-time favorite hobby was ocean fishing. As a true fisherman, he built multiple fishing boats named Maria and Heba and Hanan.

He cherished his family more than anything else. If he was with us today, he would ask us to laugh, tell stories and to celebrate his life. His last few years has been difficult for him and heartbreaking for those around him as he slowly started to fade away, but even then, his gentle voice and smile remained constant.

He will be deeply missed by his loving family and his many friends. His memories will forever remain in their hearts.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 21, in the Driscoll Funeral Home, 309 S. Main St., Haverhill from 5-7 p.m. Funeral Service will begin Wednesday, in St. Joseph Melkite Church, 241 Hampshire St., Lawrence at 11 a.m. Please meet directly at the church. Interment will follow in Linwood Cemetery, Haverhill. Contributions may be made in his memory to Education Comes First, a nonprofit organization that supports Boys & Girls Clubs in the area of education at educationcomesfirst.org or checks may to be mailed to Education Comes First, 6 Pond St., Newton, NH 03858.

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