Hanneh and Musa Kalis believe they are rich in love

THE HERALDFebruary 6, 2014 

Hanneh and Musa Kalis enjoy a morning coffee on Feb. 5 at the Puyallup Senior Activity Center. The couple is celebrating their 51st year together.


When Hanneh Kalis traveled to Jordan from Bethlehem to visit her sister in the early 1960s, she didn’t know it would lead to her meeting her future husband, Musa.

Musa Kalis, who worked in Jordan selling picture albums, came to Hanneh’s sister’s door delivering an order. Hanneh told him her sister was not there and to return later. She shut the door on him. It’s something Hanneh laughs at now.

A month after they met the couple were engaged to be married and did so on Dec. 9, 1962 in a catholic church in Bethlehem.

Today, the couple reside in Sumner where they’ve lived since 1974. In December, they celebrated 51 years of marriage.

“This is our home,” Hanneh said. “We love it. There are friendly and lovely people here. Our neighbors are like our family.”

The Kalises lived in Jerusalem, where Musa is from, until May 1967 when they fled the region to escape the Arab-Israeli War. They settled in London.

“We worked, worked, worked until 1971,” Musa said.

In 1971, the Kalises arrived in the United States. The Northwest region turned out at the time to be lacking jobs because of the downturn from Boeing. This brought the couple to Albany, New York where Musa found work as a waiter and Hanneh became a seamstress. Then, the couple traveled to Washington, D.C. to be with Musa’s cousin. It was there Musa started as a chef for the Marriott Corporation. While in Europe, Musa had attended culinary school.

After returning to the Northwest, the Kalises bought their home in Sumner. For six years, Musa worked as a chef for the McChord Officer’s Club. Then he joined the staff of Anton’s Restaurant, which now is Mama Stortini’s along East Main. Musa retired and found a new calling as a DJ. He provides music at the Puyallup Activity Center every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

In August 2012, Musa suffered a stroke.

“People here at the activity center take good care of me,” Musa said. “Thank God now I’m walking.”

Hanneh said she drives Musa to his DJ gigs and to his doctor appointments.

“I believe in God in that he healed us,” Hanneh said.

Since 1974, Hanneh has volunteered at St. Francis House in Puyallup. She has volunteered in the Francis House meal program, feeding the homeless. Today, she is the meal program coordinator. Monday through Friday Hanneh coordinates the meals at the Armory.

Throughout their marriage, Hanneh said that she and Musa have been close friends, supporting each other in everything they do.

“We understand each other. We’re husband and wife,” Hanneh said. “We don’t care if we’re rich or poor.”

Hanneh recalls her father once telling her that she and Musa were rich in love.

“Money doesn’t make our love,” Hanneh said. 

Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at andrew.fickes@puyallupherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.

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