Rula Habal Burrow
Rula Habal Burrow died peacefully at the Connecticut Hospice on Aug. 27, after a 15-month struggle with cancer. She was a long-time resident of Guilford. Born on Oct. 1, 1967, to Randa D. Habal and Dr. Mutaz B. Habal of Tampa, Florida, Rula graduated from Wellesley College before going on to earn Master’s degrees in architecture and urban planning from MIT. She loved MIT and deferred an acceptance to MIT’s MBA program for several years until motherhood made a third post-graduate degree problematic.
Rula is survived by her husband of 25 years, Peter N. Burrow, and her son, Samuel H. Burrow, as well as both of her parents and her brother, Bassam Habal. She has a large extended family from her parents.
Rula and Peter met while she was an undergraduate, and he was finishing up at business school. Their first date was a camping trip in the Moroccan Sahara. After wedding at Disneyworld in 1998 and honeymooning in Tanzania, Rula joined Peter in London, where he was an investment banker covering emerging markets telecoms companies. She sometimes joined him on his trips to Africa.
Rula worked out or played sports nearly every day. Weights, yoga, Orangetheory, spin classes, Pilates, running, badminton, pétanque, and croquet were among her favorite activities. She beat her husband in the London Marathon. She loved to cook, and she loved being a mom to her son. She was a gentlewoman farmer with a prolific hydroponic garden and raised garden beds, and she loved to travel. Spring break trips took the family to Australia, Africa, Japan, South Korea, and every country in southeast Asia. The family relocated to Bangkok in 2014 for a sort of sabbatical year and then returned to Thailand year after year, becoming full members of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club along the way.
She was a driven planner and designer, never caught without a tape measure and quarter-scale blueprint when she was working on a project. Her ability to imagine and describe building interiors in three dimensions from a drawing was legendary. She could recite SKUs, part numbers, or specifications for flanges, fittings, mountings, fixtures, coatings, textures, colors, hinges, filters, and such better than anyone in the business, usually to their chagrin. She had completed the design and construction oversight of a house and two condos for her family and was deep into the design of two more condos when she died. Her legacy will endure with these projects.
Rula cherished time spent with her friends—large, overlapping friendship circles based on some affinity. Geography, hobbies, sports, yoga, language, travel, gardening, flowers, spirituality, and human decency are some of the themes that connect her many friendships.
Rula was buried in a private service on Sept. 1. Donations to The Connecticut Hospice are welcomed.