Dr. Khakoo was traveller and healer

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Dr. Yusuf Mohamedali Khakoo died suddenly at his home in Riverdale on Aug. 12. He was 74.

One of nine children, he was born in Pemba, an island in the Zanzibar archipelago and part of the present-day nation of Tanzania in Sub-Saharan Africa, on Nov. 15, 1935. After completing primary and secondary school, he immigrated to India, where he studied at Elphinstone College in Mumbai and received his medical degree from Grant Medical College in the same city. It was there that he met Hamida Miller, who became his wife on May 24, 1962. Hamida, also a physician, predeceased him in May 2004, after 42 years of marriage.

He came to the United States in the early 1960s for postgraduate medical training in pediatric hematology in Philadelphia and New York City. He developed a lifelong love of baseball, in particular, the New York Mets. He relocated to Africa for several years with his growing family, but returned to the Bronx in 1969.

Since the early 1970s, he worked at Harlem Hospital as a pediatric hematologist specializing in the treatment of children with sickle-cell disease. He was fiercely dedicated to his patients, Arif Khakoo, his son, said. He was also on the faculty of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, educating generations of medical students.

He had enduring passions for the outdoors as a fisherman and gardener, something his son called an extension of a childhood spent on the hills and shores of Zanzibar.

He was a member of the Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of New York.

He is survived by his brother Milton Keynes, who lives in the United Kingdom; a daughter and two sons: Yasmin Khakoo and husband Robert Fisher, of New York; Aashik Khakoo and wife Jillian Hiris, of Stamford, Conn.; and Aarif Khakoo and wife Shibani Pati, of Houston, Texas; as well as seven grandchildren: Alex Fisher, Anika Khakoo, Manisha Khakoo, Wesley Khakoo, Aliya Fisher, Cullin Khakoo, and Thelonious Khakoo.

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