Mansur Rafizadeh 1930 – 2018, Chester, New York
Author and Owner of Mansur's Farm and Nirvana Water
FORESTPORT, NY – Mansur Rafizadeh, the author of "Witness, From the Shah to the Secret Arms Deal, An Insider's Account of U.S. Involvement in Iran," died on February 8, 2018, in Middletown, New York, at the age of 87.
The book, an autobiography, provided an eloquent and stirring account of Mansur's childhood in Iran, his moving relationship with his wise and philosophical father, his induction into Iranian politics at the tender age of eighteen, his education at Tehran University Law School, his subsequent immigration to America, where he studied at Harvard and New York University, and finally his immersion in Iranian and American political intrigue as a former chief of Savak, the Shah's secret police, and a covert agent for the CIA. The book captured Mansur's youthful idealism and his later pragmatism, which allowed him to navigate Iranian politics from the 1950s until shortly after the revolution.
Tall, handsome, and regal with a charismatic presence, style, and poise, Mansur was unforgettable. He was born in 1930 in Kerman, Iran, the eldest and beloved son of Malekeh and Mohammed Rafizadeh. His father instilled in him at a young age the value of literacy as a social obligation; by reading to those who could not, he was helping enlighten the less fortunate. His mother instructed him on the significance of social conduct. Throughout his life, Mansur displayed a deep love for learning with a sympathetic allegiance to those who asked him for guidance.
As the first-born, Mansur learned to lead. He organized his family's move from Kerman to Iran's capital Tehran, and subsequently, to the United States. His yearning for justice and desire to improve the lives of Iranians led him to become politically active at a young age. Underlying the many leadership positions that he assumed was a longing for a country that better served its people while working within the paradigm that existed at the time.
Following the publication of his autobiography in 1987, Mansur closed the door on his former life and settled in the Utica area. With his youngest brother Mozafar, he built Mansur's Farm, the largest dairy farm north of Albany with 800 dairy cows. He loved nature, books, and the company of others, and at the farm he enjoyed all three with his faithful dog, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Mickey. Fourth of July celebrations at his farm were famous for the food, entertainment, and camaraderie and were open to everyone in town. Also with Mozafar, he subsequently opened Nirvana Water in Forestport, which employed about 100 people and distributed its clear, crisp water to manufacturers nationwide.
In his book, Mansur recalled his father advising him that possessions had no value. "Only the good you do will outlast your grave." Mansur was a deeply generous and kind gentleman. After his father's death in 1971, he followed through with his promise to his father and took care of his mother until her death in 1988 and his youngest brother. Through his extraordinary and ordinary acts of kindness, Mansur displayed his goodness, which is remembered by those whose lives he touched and which will outlast his death. He loved and was dearly loved.
Highly independent, both in terms of self-direction and self-sufficiency, Mansur never married. He is survived by one brother and two sisters. His younger brothers, Hamid and Mozafar, predeceased him.
Services were held at Flynn Funeral & Cremation Memorial Centers in New York, followed by a celebration of Mansur's remarkable life with his