By Harry M. Kushigian
Well, Papaz, you had quite the send off. At church, throngs attended your wake and funeral to console Armine and the family. The overflowing crowd was a testament to you and your legacy. A fine example of that respect was the attendance of the AYF Juniors before their departure to Junior Seminar. You always loved the AYF while a member, an alumnus, coach, and advisor. I kept personally thanking the AYF for bringing us together 52 years ago at the Niagara Falls Olympics.
Your funeral service was not only conducted by your priest, Der Nerses, but by Srpazan Choloyan as the main celebrant, due to many years of devotion to your beloved Armenian church, the Prelacy, and to the NRA, as its chairman. His beautiful eulogy centered upon your well-known organizational and leadership skills.
Your graveside ceremony was again so touching with the singing of “Giligia” and the ARF “Verekerov Lee.” After waiting for most to leave, we placed a farewell flower on your casket, gave you a final kiss, and repeated a phrase from one of our favorite songs.
As I stepped away, one of the funeral home personnel asked me if we were brothers, and I responded, “Yes, he sure was, in a way.” He then wanted to know who you were to command such a large turnout and asked if you were an important person. “He sure was,” I said with pride.