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May 4, 1930 – Aug. 27, 2013

The Rev. John Chebat, of Cheektowaga, a priest in the Maronite Catholic Church and a businessman, died last Tuesday in a Virginia hospital after a short illness. He was 83.

Born Bacchus Mansour in Lebanon, he first came to the U.S. following the death of his father in 1955 and divided his time between the two countries until he became a permanent resident here in the early 1970s.

He became a priest in the Maronite Catholic Church when he was 33 and took the name Father John Chebat when he became a U.S. citizen.

His first wife, Radah, died two years later during childbirth, leaving him a widower with six children. In 1974, he married Georgette Fahel, and they had six children.

Father Chebat helped hundreds of people flee Lebanon and settle in the U.S. during the Lebanese civil war during the 1970s, according to his family. He was assistant to Monsignor Joseph Joseph at St. John Maron Maronite Catholic Church in Amherst until 1985, when he retired from religious duties, although he continued to perform occasional wedding ceremonies and baptisms.

Semiretired as a businessman, he had owned a dozen neighborhood stores on Buffalo’s West Side, many of them operated by members of his family.

In addition to his wife, survivors include six sons, Jamal Philippe, Michel, Johnny H., Jimmy, Joulian and Jason “George,” and six daughters, Yasmine Chaybon, Layla Khoury, Mary Chbat, Antoinette El Khoury, Julie Tallchief and Jeanna.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today in St. John Maron Church, 2040 Wehrle Drive, Amherst.