In Memory Of Desai Née Mahgoub, Rokaya


Private Ceremony

Private burial

Rokaya Mahgoub Desai passed away peacefully on May 23, 2021 at St. Mary’s Hospital Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Rokaya was a kind, generous, elegant, brilliant and incredibly strong woman. She was a pioneer, coming to Canada from Egypt on her own in 1970, a physicist already, to study and become one of the first computer scientists to graduate from McGill University. She was a teacher and mentor, having inspired many minds at Cégep de Maisonneuve and Concordia University, as well as an avid explorer, having traveled and volunteered across the world. She was a mother, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a great-aunt and a friend, beloved by her beautiful and supportive family and her many, many caring friends. Let us keep her in our hearts and in our memories. Dear Rokaya, rest peacefully.


As expressions of sympathy, donations in the memory of Rokaya Mahgoub Desai to St.Mary’s Hospital Centre ( or the Daughters for Life Foundation ( would be appreciated by the family.


St. Mary’s Hospital Centre provided excellent cancer care for Rokaya for over 10 years and during her last days of her life. Daughters for Life provides scholarships for young women coming from the Middle East to pursue higher education in Canada and the U.S, mirroring Rokaya’s own journey to Canada.

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Messages for the Family of Desai Née Mahgoub, Rokaya

From: Soha Saleh

May Allah bless her soul and grant her in higher Jannat. We will miss her and forever will be in our heart.
From: Terry

Dear Mr Desai and Maya,
Rokaya was such an interesting woman. We had long chats in the lobby about all sorts of things. Im glad that Henry, my dog could elicit smiles from Rokaya.
May the memories of this beautiful soul be of comfort you you .
Terry Cohen
From: Robert and Carmen Carbone

Dear Jitendra and Maya,

We were so very sorry to learn of the passing of Rokaya. She was wonderful woman, kind, courageous, honest and very interesting . We appreciated so much her background and had immense respect for her accomplishments.

Robert would like to add how much he enjoyed working with Rokaya on the condominium board where her input was always valuable. Her presence greatly contributed to the board making better decisions and making Le Barat a better place to live for everyone.

We have lost a special person and will always remember her fondly.

Please accept our sincere condolences.

Robert and Carmen Carbone
From: Mariangela & Nav

Dearest Maya,

We wanted to offer our deepest and most heartfelt love as an expression of our condolence for the loss of your dear mum. We remember her as an elegant and fiercely intelligent woman, and will always remember fondly the time we spent with you and your parents at their home in Montreal. We remember her warmth and generosity and have always held that memory close to our hearts, and always will. Love to you and papa Desai.
From: Gina

For you and your family
During this difficult time
From: Rami

We already miss you.
From: Hesham Sobhy

words doping
am asking allah to be in peace
was such amazing woman , woderful aut, her addvice to follow my passion & love of art will keep on it
love u my dear ant, will pray for u forever
From: Vijay & Manju Srivastava

Dear Robin & Maya : Our deepest condolences on the passing of our dearest friend: Rokaya. We had known her over five decades and visited you all on several weekends. We sat around and spent hours having discussions and I was truly amazed to recall her knowledge about the topics. She was well read and reading books was her passion. She was such a wonderful cook and introduced to us to delicious Egyptian dishes and coffee that I still enjoy and think about her. It is hard to know any person so very committed, dependable reliable whom one can count at time of need. We are going to miss her during our visits to Montreal. May God give peace to her soul.
From: Asher

She was such an amazing person to be around when I was up there, I'm so glad I got to meet her and saddened by what's happened. I know you all were so lucky to have her in your life and I send all my thoughts and prayers.
From: Yasmine

I am so affected by her departure. Rest in peace auntie. I will never forget you and your kindness
From: Seema Srivastava

Hi Maya and Robin Uncle,
I am so sorry for this immense loss.
Rokaya aunty was an awesome woman, and taught us computers when we were young.
So vibrant and active, very fair and loving.
I loved our Egyptian food she used to feed us and loved all the conversations when we would meet at all the shows in Montreal, with so much laughter and joy.
We loved her lots. And she will be greatly missed.
From: Ronen Bauer

Maya, my deepest condolences to you and your family. From what I've learned your mom was an inspiring and special woman who will be missed. My thoughts are with you through this difficult time.
From: Aisha Suhail

Maya, sending you so much love!
Listening to your mother's story is so incredibly inspiring.
Holding you tight my love!
From: Chawki El Minyawi

Merci Maya pour nous donner une chance de dire Au Revoir a notre amie de longue date Rokaya dont ses presences et participations nous manqueront. Mais ce n est qu un Au Revoir !
Our sincere condolences to you and her family.
P.S. George Moustaki s song said it all about her love to Egypt and Alexandria . She was a true citizen of the whole world !
From: Nancy L Snow

Such a lovely honouring for your mother; we wish we could have been there in person.
We send you our deepest sympathies.
Ann Snow, Nancy Snow, Jeff Kramp, Madeline Zammit, Thomas Kramp.
From: Vinit

Dear Robin Uncle, Maya and Eric,

We are deeply sorry for the loss of our dear Rokaya Aunty. She was a unique soul like no other and brought so much positivity, happiness and love to our lives. She will live in our hearts forever.

We will miss you Aunty.


Naina, Rishi, Neela, Monisha and Vinit (Neetu)
From: Angelika Seeschaaf Veres

Dear Maya, Papa Desai and families Mahgoub & Desai
Through you, Maya - energetic woman who deeply inquires, questions, challenge boundaries, travels, share warm friendships and the diverse world-views rooted in the diverse cultures the you were part of thanks to your family- I see your mom, whom I unfortunately not had the chance to meet in person. The way you spoke of your mom made me feel that I got to know her a little. Rokaya, a very intelligent, courageous and warm and inquisitive woman that pioneered and created a space and acted as role model and mentor for you and others in education, sciences and the arts. Our thought are with you and your family and we are here to support you through the grieving. Yours Angelika, Chris, Juno & Lenni
From: shanta srivastava

Dear Maya and Robin,
Rokaya was a truly remarkable woman; very strong, intelligent, open-minded, and fun to be with. She will be missed very dearly. My heartfelt condolences to you and the loved ones. May God comfort your heart and give you the strength to bear this irreparable loss. I pray for the eternal peace of the departed soul. Om Shanti.
From: Abdallah Mostafa Fayed

May God bestow peace and mercy upon her soul. She has always a strong woman full of energy and curiosity. I only wish to have spent more time with her.
From: Mona Wahdan

From: Afaf Wahdan & Mona Wahdan

Dear Maya:
Our deepest condolences to you and your family, on behalf of the Wahdan family in Egypt. Deeply saddened by the passing away of Rokaya, our longtime childhood friend and Ismailia school mate. Her cherished memories will live forever in our hearts and thoughts. May her loving soul rest in eternal peace.
From: Walid Hussein

Auntie Rokaia was a kind person that although I did nit meet many times, she always had this special place in my heart since I first met her (first time I remember) when I was 7 years old. Her journey in life has inspired me as I’m sure has inspired many more. I pray for her Saul to rest in peace.