Melaku Abraha was a hard worker and was always kind to those around him, his friends and coworkers said.
Abraha, who worked as a parking attendant for 13 years at the Marvin Center, died on April 1 from a head injury. He was robbed and attacked four days earlier in Alexandria, Va., the Washington Post reported. The case is still under investigation.
Abraha moved to the U.S. from Ethiopia in 2000, where he worked in the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority for 31 years, according to an obituary the family distributed at Abraha’s funeral.
Alem Alfred, the manager of parking operations, said Abraha was like a father to her. She said she attended Abraha’s funeral Wednesday.
“We all respected him, and I’m really sad things turned out this way,” Alfred said.
Alfred said Abraha’s daughter was emotional at the funeral because her father will miss her wedding next month.
An obituary for Alfred was handed out at the funeral and featured letters from his family members. One of his sons, Berket Melaku, wrote about how his father was loving and committed to his family – traits he always admired.
“He instilled in us a core value system that defined him as a man. He never feared challenges and he expected the same from us. I am going to miss him every day,” his son wrote.
James Fenwick, a parking attendant, said the 69-year-old was like family. He said Abraha was hardworking and disciplined.
“If something is right, it’s right, and if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. He was that type of person. He always tried to go by the book,” he said.
Russell Pickett, another parking attendant, said the two used to sit and talk during their breaks, and he missed Abraha’s company.
“He was a nice guy, and I couldn’t understand why this happened to him,” he said.
Pickett said that outside of his GW job, Abraha was also a taxi driver.
James Pritchett, the associate director of Marvin Center operations, said that while he didn’t know Abraha well, the two spoke every day.
“He seemed like a very nice man, and it just struck me as so senseless that it had to happen to him of all people,” Pritchett said.
Abraha is survived by his wife, four children and three grandchildren.