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January 7, 2021

Shahin Kalajnxhiu

Shahin Kalajnxhiu, age 79, of Berat, Albania, passed away at Banner Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona on January 7, 2021. Shahin Kalajnxhiu was born May 4, 1942 to Taulla Kalajnxhiu and Faire Bufi in the village of Kostren, Berat County, Albania. Before his first birthday, his mother passed away.  Although without her love and care, Shahin excelled in elementary school in the late 40’s and early 50’s, something that caught the attention of his teachers, who helped him attain further education.  Shahin attended the pedagogical school “Ndrec Ndue Gjoka” in Tirana.  After graduating in 1959, he started to work as a certified teacher in Kostren at the tender age of 17, teaching the young and the old, as a part of fighting analphabetism during post-World-War-II Albania.  After teaching for five years, he was drafted into the military. Because Shahin had a high school diploma—a major achievement at the time—and because of the volatility of the region (Greek army conducting military maneuvers near the Albanian border, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 1967), he received military education and became a military officer specialized in communication.  For his fine skills in his specialty, Shahin was summoned to work at the Ministry of Defense in 1968.  Later on in the 1970’s, given his background in education, Shahin was appointed vice principal of “Sami Frashëri” gymnasium, a prominent high school in the capital city of Tirana, and commander of the school’s battalion.  In the meantime, he pursued his studies in the faculty of History-Philology at the University of Tirana.  At “Sami Frashëri,” Shahin was teacher to a number of future Albanian politicians like, Fatos Nano (Premier of Albanian in early 1990s), Genc Ruli (Finance Minister in the 2000s), Dashamir Shehi (parliamentarian), Arben Imami (Defense Minister, 2011-2013) and many others. 

For his achievements, Shahin was decorated three times from the Presidium of the People’s Assembly. The medals are as follows: 1. Military Service (1983), 2. Red Star (1984), and 3. Red Star of the Second Class (1990). Shahin took pride in his work in education and in the military, but more so as a loving husband to Lirika, whom he married in 1968, and a loving father to two sons, Fatos and Altin. 

Shahin is survived by his wife of 52 years, Lirika; his two sons, Fatos (Alketa) Kalajnxhiu of Quincy, MA, and Altin (Iruela) Galanxhi of Tirana, Albania; his four brothers Shefqet Kalajnxhiu of Kuçovë, Albania, Adem, Sadik, and Ferdi of Berat, Albania; three sisters, Fildane, Nurie, Shega, Safete, and Xhezmie of Berat, Albania. He was predeceased by his parents, Taulla and Faire, his step-mother Merjeme, and an older brother, Mersin. 

Family and friends are welcome to attend the visitation on Tuesday from 10:00am to 12:00pm at the Keohane Funeral Home, 785 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA 02170.  Burial will follow at the Pine Hill Cemetery.