Huffpost UK Tech uk

Steve Jobs Family Tree: The Exotic And Tragic Family History of Apple's Late Visionary

Posted: Updated:

Everyone knows Steve Jobs as a visionary and inventor, who co-founded Apple and helped to invent all of its most iconic products, including the iPhone, the iPad and the Mac computer.

What is not so well known is that while he was adopted at birth by Paul and Clara Jobs, and brought up in California in a relatively stable household, his genetic roots were far more exotic.

Jobs' birth father was Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, who was actually from Syria, and his mother was Joanne Carole Schieble, who met as students in Wisconin. According to biographies and interviews, Schieble's parents wouldn't allow her to marry an Arab. As a result, she went to San Francisco and had the baby there.

"Without telling me, Joanne upped and left to move to San Francisco to have the baby without anyone knowing, including me," Jandali said last August.

While the pair were unmarried when they had Jobs, they subsequently married and had another child - Jobs' sister and novelist Mona Simpson - before divorcing in 1962.

But Jobs did not know until the 1980s that he had a sister. He only met her after contacting his mother, after which they became close friends.

Separately from Jobs, Simpson went looking for her father and found him managing a coffee shop. She later said that Jindali mentioned Steve Jobs eating in his restaurant even though he didn't know Jobs was his son.

Jobs said that he didn't like what he knew about his biological father, and was dismissive of his birth parents until his own death in 2011 from pancreatic cancer.

"(They) were my parents 1,000%," he said of his adoptive family in Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography.

"When I was looking for my biological mother, obviously, you know, I was looking for my biological father at the same time," he told an interviewer before he died. "And I learned a little bit about him and I didn't like what I learned. I asked her to not tell him that we ever met... not tell him anything about me".

In her eulogy after Jobs' death, Simpson said that while she did not know her father well - and Steve began to fill some element of that void.

"I grew up as an only child, with a single mother. Because we were poor and because I knew my father had emigrated from Syria, I imagined he looked like Omar Sharif," she said.

"Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother."

As for Jobs' father, the Daily Mail reported last year that he now works as a vice president of a casino in Reno, Nevada.

"This might sound strange, though, but I am not prepared, even if either of us was on our deathbeds, to pick up the phone to call him," Jindali said before Jobs died.

"Steve will have to do that, as the Syrian pride in me does not want him ever to think I am after his fortune.

"Now I just live in hope that, before it is too late, he will reach out to me, because even to have just one coffee with him just once would make me a very happy man."

He never had the chance.