Sundra Moyyad served Faith internationally, in Michigan and in Florida
Sundra Moyyad, a devoted teacher of the Faith for half a century, developed Bahá’í communities in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan and in Florida. She traveled for the Faith in Mexico, Finland, Central Asia and other areas.
A longtime educator, she passed away April 19, 2013, at age 83 near Houghton in her native Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
“Her years of diligent service to the Faith will continue to have a positive impact for years to come,” wrote her son, Arno Moyyad, adding that “every breath that my mother took was really to serve Bahá’u’lláh in some capacity.”
Born in 1929, Sundra Joan Peterson was brought up in a Finnish community in the northernmost reaches of Michigan. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University, then a master’s in public health education at the University of Michigan.
With early experience as a public school teacher in Mass City, Michigan, she worked from 1952–1955 developing public health programs in Detroit in association with the Christmas Seals organization, Wayne State University, school systems and other agencies.
After marrying physician Manoo Moyyad in 1955, Sundra moved over the years to Columbus, Ohio, where she embraced the Bahá’í Faith in 1959; Memphis, Tennessee; and Ypsilanti, Michigan, where the couple operated a clinic for 23 years.
Avid in teaching the Faith, she served various Bahá’í communities over the decades as a Local Spiritual Assembly member, an assistant to an Auxiliary Board member, and a member of district teaching committees serving southeastern Michigan and southern Florida.
For years she was active in Bahá’í public information task forces in Florida and did volunteer work for the National Spiritual Assembly’s Office of Public Information.
While she was an experienced world traveler, a particular succession of international trips for the Faith came after retirement. The Moyyads moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1984 and Manoo passed away two years later. Sundra embarked on a second career in real estate, and in parallel began traveling and encouraging Bahá’í communities in Mexico, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In 1995 came a special trip to Finland alongside her brother Tobias, with side trips to Russia and Sweden.
Back in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 2006, she continued teaching the Faith in many capacities.
Sundra was preceded in death by her husband, Manoo Moyyad, in 1986; her sister, Geraldine Peterson Rivera, in 1996; and her brother, Tobias Peterson, in 2011. Her survivors include a daughter, Zizi Moyyad-Aghevli; a son, Arno Moyyad; and a grandson.