Senator Wadie P. Deddeh, Ret., passed away peacefully on August 27th, at the age of 98. At his side was his wife of 68 years, Mary-Lynn.
Senator Deddeh was born in Baghdad, Iraq and immigrated to the United States in 1947. He soon moved to California, and became active in local Democratic politics. Through his 1966 election to the California State Assembly, Deddeh became the first Iraqi-American, in the United States, to be elected to public office. He went on to serve in the Assembly until his 1982 election to the California State Senate. Deddeh served in that house until his retirement in 1993.
One of Deddeh’s most important achievements as a Legislator, came in1972 when he authored the legislation that created the modern California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The Agency is responsible for building and maintaining California’s massive State highway system.
In 2006 Caltrans opened the Wadie P. Deddeh State Office Building in Old Town, which is now Caltrans’ San Diego headquarters. The 3 building complex is 301,000 square feet, and cost $72.5 million to build.
Along with his wife, Senator Deddeh is survived by his son, San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge Peter Deddeh, and Peter’s wife, Aleta. Senator Deddeh also leaves behind three grandchildren, Trevor, Alexandra and Samantha, two brothers, George and Fuad, a sister Georgette and several nieces and nephews.