Michel G. Ziade was only 16 when he traveled alone from his home in Lebanon to start a new life in the United States.
He put himself through college, became a pilot and built a successful business in the Kansas City area. Ziade considered himself blessed.
But the greatest blessing in his life was his 5-year-old daughter, upon whom the 54-year-old Ziade doted.
Now the little girl will have to grow up without her father.
Ziade, of Lee’s Summit, was fatally shot Tuesday outside the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.
He and his wife owned First Class Medical Transportation Inc., a Lee’s Summit-based company that provides non-emergency medical transport.
Kansas City, Kan., police are looking for a company employee, 46-year-old Willie E. Parker, to question in connection with the shooting. Parker remained at large Thursday.
Family members said Thursday that Ziade was generous and kind to his employees. He bought birthday presents for their children and sometimes lent them money with no expectation of being paid back.
“He respected his employees,” said his mother-in-law, Nancy Mangiaracina-Wisdom. “He was so wonderful to every one of them.”
Family members said he was a devout Christian who always tried to treat everyone with kindness.
“I can’t tell you what a great man he was,” said his sister-in-law, Brittnee Wisdom-Maggio. “He was an amazing father — so giving and kind.”
He especially looked forward to taking his daughter to kindergarten this school year, Mangiaracina-Wisdom said. He loved teaching her new things every day, taking her to the park and spending as much time as he could with her.
“He lived and breathed his daughter,” she said. “He was the best father I’ve ever known.”