Olive Virginia Yazid

November 26, 1928 - April 5, 2020

On Sunday April 5th, 2020, Olive Virginia Yazid, née LaGuardia, passed away peacefully in her home in Newark, Delaware, at the age of 92. 

Olive was born in the Bronx, New York City, to Cincinato Giovanni Battista LaGuardia and Olive Florence LaGuardia, née Repath.  Her childhood was blessed with the cheerfully raucous exchanges of large extended family gatherings, and a rich trove of cousins of all ages.  

A graduate of Smith College, Olive’s passion for the written word, politics and travel drew her into a career in international journalism. It was through her work as a journalist at the United Nations Arab Information Center that she met her husband, Algerian diplomat M’hammed Yazid, who was at the United Nations representing the Algerian Liberation Front. The two married on February 28th, 1959 and moved to Tunisia soon after, where they stayed until Algerian independence was achieved in 1962. The couple then moved back to M’hammed’s hometown of Blida, before heading off to Beirut, Lebanon with their three children: Hediya, Leila, and Zoubir. After completing M’hammed’s assignment as Ambassador there in the late 1970s, they settled down in the Algerian capital of Algiers.  Over the years, her letters home to her mother and her sister Dorothy Maria blended family news, children’s photographs, and accounts of her encounters with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Ted Kennedy, Eldridge Cleaver, and Mohammed Ali.

Following in the footsteps of her mother and father, both of whom were educators, Olive would later begin to teach English to students at the American Language Institute in Algiers, a career which she would continue at the University of Delaware English Language Institute in Newark, Delaware upon her return to the United States in 1994.  Having learned French and Arabic as an adult, she understood the challenges her students faced, and taught them in a way that made clear how equally excited she was to learn about their backgrounds and personal stories.

Olive continued to teach until her retirement in February of 2015. Never one to be idle, she immediately began working on a family history, to be passed on to her grandchildren.  To her six grandchildren, she was quite the school report subject, with roots spanning Italy, Argentina, England, Ireland, Canada, and the United States, and a life journey that took her to North Africa, the Middle East and back.  Her stories continued to grow as she traveled back to Algeria, visited friends in France, and followed her globe-trotting son in his own journeys around the world.

Olive will be remembered for her love of family, her strength of character, her indominable will, and—perhaps above all—for her exceptional commitment to tennis and to the Sunday New York Times.  She was fiercely proud of her children and grandchildren, loved her long chats with her dear cousins and childhood friends, and will be sorely missed. 

She was preceded in death by her dear sister, Dorothy Maria Gillespie, and her husband M’hammed Yazid. She is survived by her three children, Hediya Yazid, Leila (Faouzi) Hamroun, and Zoubir (Erika) Yazid, and her six grandchildren, Mehdi, Mahel, Halim, Neil, Nawel and Jasmine. 

The immediate funeral services and burial will be private. The family plans to hold a larger memorial service at a later date, which has yet to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that Olive’s dedication to education be honored by contributing to the programs of the “Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County” either online at 

https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E350267&id=3 or by sending a check to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County at 212 Centre Street, Trenton, NJ 08611.


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29 Condolences for Olive Virginia Yazid

  • Leila & Family
    I’m so sorry for your loss Sweetie and praying God’s blessing to comfort you. The memory video was a beautiful tribute to your mother.
    Much love & prayers

  • Belle dame, Belle famille, Belle vie..
    Inchallah Dieu l’accueil dans son Eden.

  • My love and condolences to all who cared so much for Olive Virginia. She was so proud of her family including her extended family. We were privileged to have her in our lives. I will always be grateful for the time we had together, her interest and acceptance.

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families! 💔🙏🏻💔.

  • I’m sitting with my brother David and we just viewed the tribute- Brought back many fond memories of Olive and the times in Southampton together. What an impressive and full life she lived. Leila- guessing your daughter is home safely with you – but if she is still on Oahu please pass along my email and #- 970 209-3564. We just spoke with my mother and she has so many fond memories of the times spent with your family. Aloha

  • Olive showed me NYC like no one ever had before. To this day it is my favorite city to visit.
    The Amirouche family will miss her dearly.

  • Hediya and family, I’m so sorry for your loss – what a wonderful life she had with her career and beautiful family. Sending my heartfelt condolences to all the family, cherish your memories and what a wonderful video tribute! XO

  • Leila,

    I am so sorry for your loss. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Your mother’s life story is truly amazing. My thoughts are with you at this sad time.

  • Dear Zoubir, Erika, and Jasmine,

    Sending all our love from across the ocean to you and the family for your loss. Zoubir, your mother has indeed left a huge legacy for many to remember. Lots of love, the Nava family.

  • We were both so saddened to hear of your beautiful mother and grandmother’s passing. She was an amazing loving and giving person. She will truly be missed by all who knew and were touched by her.
    All our love and prayers are being sent your way.
    Hugs and kisses
    Tweedy and Tony

  • Leila and Family,
    We are so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. The video is a lovely tribute to your mother and her life. Praying that God comforts you and your family during this difficult time.
    Love you.

  • Yazid family has lost a loving mother. She will also be remembered by her adoptive country Algeria that she served and fought for along with her Husband minister Mhamed Yazid. May God receive her in His Paradise.
    Leila nous sommes avec toi de tout coeur.

  • What a beautiful person. I’m so very sorry for your loss. This video was amazing. Virtual hugs ((())) to the family. ❤️😘 ❤️😘 double kisses.
    Looking forward to spending time together again. RIP

  • My heart & prayers are with your family. Your mom lead an extraordinary life . What a wonderful legacy. May she Rest In Peace. Dee

  • Dear Hediya and family,
    We send our most sincere condolences on the loss of your precious mother and grandmother. We also send our prayers for the eternal life of Olive who will certainly remain embraced in all your hearts forever.
    Andrew, David & Susan

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. What a wonderful life and family!! The video is such a beautiful tribute to your mom.
    All our love –
    The Louie Family

  • Zoubir and Family,

    My heart aches for you at this time of grief. I know how much family means to you. I could feel the love and respect for your Mother in the beautiful video tribute.

    With deepest sympathy,

  • To Zoubir and family

    Sorry for your lost. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all from my family to yours.

  • Leila,
    My deepest sympathies to you and your family during this difficult time.
    What a lovely tribute to your dear mother. May she rest in eternal peace. xo.

  • The world will truly miss such an adventurous and intelligent presence! Our hearts go out to Zoubir and all of his family.
    With sincere sympathy,
    Deborah Frazier

  • Leila & Family, What a wonderful video that showed what we all remember Olive for the most – kind, caring, and thoughtful. She was blessed with a beautiful family. We are so sorry for your loss. With love the Merediths

  • Dear Hediya and family ,
    Marc and I are very sorry for your loss. Your mother was a great educator and helped raise both you and hundreds of youth. Because of this she will continue to influence the future. We are praying for you and your family

  • My heartfelt condolences to Olive’s family, children and grandchildren; keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers.
    It was an honor working with Olive in the same tutoring room at the ELI and will always cherish those memories.
    Rosana Dempsey

  • I worked with Olive for a number of years at the English Language Institute, by the time I joined ELI, Olive had been a long time presence at the ELI, I always found her and amazing woman who was always seemed to be sparked by meeting, learning and taking a genuine intense interest in other and their stories and life travels. Her spark will be missed.

    My thoughts are with you at this time,
    Take Care,
    Catherine Ciferni

  • So sorry for your loss Olive was a beautiful woman, inside and out I loved her. Love and prayers to all her Family

  • Dear Hediya, Leila, Zoubir, spouses, and children,

    I was researching the dates of Mhamed’s service at the UN when I came upon the sad news of Olive’s passing. Please accept my heartlfelt condolences and my enduring love for the Yazid family, which welcomed me and my family and made us feel very much at home during our eight years in Algiers from 1976 to 1981 and 1988 to 1991. Olive — Zaitouna for those who knew that story! — was, like Mhamed, a warmhearted and wise friend whose memory I will always cherish. May she rest in peace.

  • I only now learned this sad news. Olive was a courageous and resilient woman who is a loss to all who knew her and most especially to Hediya, Leila and Zoubir. I most remember our casual gatherings for fried chicken suppers at my house in Hydra, Algiers and the fun we had before all the difficult times came. Rest in peace.

  • September 5, 2020
    I have just learned of the death of Olive Yazid, a long lost but excellent friend
    who, along with her late husband M’Hamed and their children, were “ports of call” in Algeria and
    in Lebanon when I was a foreign correspondent. She and they taught me many things I should
    never have learned without their patient guidance.
    I should be very obliged if anyone could help me get in touch the children. I should like to let them
    now important their parents were to me.
    Sincerely, Jonathan Randal [email protected] and [email protected]

  • Bonjour Hedia. Ce n’est peut peut-être pas trop tard pour te présenter des condoléances pour ta maman que j’ai rarement croisée mon dont je garde un beau souvenir.
    Bien à toi