Shaheen Azeez Shaheen, 92, passed away peacefully on November 19, 2020 at his beloved home in Dalton, Georgia.
Shaheen was a widely respected businessman, community leader, philanthropist, and man of faith and integrity. He was preceded in death by his parents Azeez Shaheen and Saleemeh Suleiman Balluteen Shaheen, his wife, Piera Barbaglia Shaheen, brothers Naseeb and Tawfeek Shaheen, and his sisters-in-law Margaret Vaughan Shaheen and Doris Bradshaw Shaheen.
He is survived by his brother Shouky Shaheen; sons and daughters-in-law, John and Angela Shaheen and David and Linda Shaheen; grandchildren Maria, Mark (Lauran), Lauren, Alexandra, and John Shaheen; great-grandchildren Eilir, Ayres, Aevyn, Marcus, Maximus, and Amelia; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Shaheen was born in Chicago, Il., and was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses along with his mother and three brothers on Feb. 15, 1942.
Shaheen graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering in 1949. After graduating, Shaheen became a minority partner in Katherine Chenilles, where he sold rugs for the company in six midwestern states.
Shaheen and Piera were married in Chicago in June 1951 and moved to Dalton shortly thereafter. Shaheen contemplated whether to open an Edsel dealership or continue to work in the carpet industry. Ultimately, he decided to sell his interest in Katherine Chenilles and used those proceeds along with savings to establish World Carpets in February 1954. Shaheen and Piera grew World Carpets into one of the largest privately held carpet companies.
He operated World Carpets as he lived his life, by following Matthew 7:12, “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must do to them.” He pioneered many programs for the benefit of World’s employees, including bonus programs, profit sharing, medical insurance for everyone, smoking cessation programs, GED programs, and scholarships for children of employees.
Always dynamic and innovative, Shaheen developed groundbreaking technologies in the carpet industry, including carpet backing technology with Textile Rubber, continuous dye processes with DuPont and Kusters, and flatbed and rotary printing with Zimmer. World Carpets was one of the first in the industry to completely integrate its operations by developing its own nationwide sales force, warehousing, shipping and logistics, yarn processing, and construction management. Shaheen petitioned Washington D.C. to establish stringent regulations for the textile industry, most of which are still standard today.
In 1986, Shaheen, along with the leadership of World Carpets, was the recipient of the State of Georgia Governor’s Award for the Arts. He was inducted into the World Floor Covering Association Hall of Fame in 1994. In November 1998, Mohawk Industries acquired World Carpets, creating the largest flooring company.
Shaheen was an active philanthropist, centering on families, education, and the arts. He enjoyed collecting fossils, minerals, meteorites, and other unique geological finds. Much of his collection was donated to and is on display at Dalton State College.
Shaheen and Piera loved to travel and always carried two things: a Bible and carpet samples. He and Piera would share Bible truths and sell carpet in all corners of the earth.
Following Shaheen’s retirement from World Carpets, Shaheen and Piera would spend the winter in Jupiter, Fl.; the spring and fall in Dalton, Ga.; and the summer on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. Shaheen would often say that his goal was to never turn on any heat or air conditioning.
Throughout Shaheen’s life, he enjoyed speaking to everyone that he met about his faith. Later in life he would hand out copies of the Watchtower or Awake magazines, as well as other publications about Biblical teachings.
Memorial service arrangements will be announced by Love Funeral Home, (706) 278-3313. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to support the worldwide preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses at www.donate.jw.org.