Obituary: Art Bedian (1922-2013)

On March 4, members of the Granite City, Ill., Armenian community came together to bid farewell to Arthur (Kegham) Bedian at funeral services held in St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church. The services were followed by a military funeral ceremony performed by members of the U.S. Air Force in front of the Armenian Genocide Memorial. Mourners then gathered at the Community Center for a memorial dinner and to celebrate Arthur Bedian’s life.

Art Bedian
Art Bedian

A life-long member of the Granite City community, Arthur was born to Asadour and Elizabeth (nee Yeghiazarian) Bedian on Aug. 28, 1922, and spent his childhood in the Lincoln Place neighborhood. As a youth, he played in the “Daron” band and was a member of the Granite City High School’s 1940 State Champion basketball team He was a charter member of the Granite City “Antranig” Chapter of the ARF Tzeghagrons (later Armenian Youth Federation), joining along with dozens of other youth in 1933 during a visit by famed Armenian General Karekin Njdeh.

It was through the AYF that he met the love of his life, Mary T. Knekleian, whom he married on Oct. 18, 1942, in Detroit, Mich., and who passed away on Nov. 6, 2004. Shortly after his marriage to Mary, Arthur was called up to serve in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, where he fought in New Guinea and the Philippines and achieved the rank of Technical Sergeant. Upon returning home from the war, he joined his wife in Detroit for a brief period of time before returning to Granite City.

In 1954, the Armenian community acquired a church sanctuary in Lincoln Place and Arthur began a relationship with St. Gregory’s that continued throughout the rest of his life. He served many years as a member of the Board of Trustees, often as chairman, and as delegate to the National Representative Assembly of the Armenian Prelacy. He remained a faithful parishioner of the church throughout his life, attending nearly every Sunday until his health declined.

Arthur Bedian was a long-time leader of the “Hriar” Gomideh of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and also taught in the Armenian school. Frustrated by the lack of a modern English-Armenian dictionary for non-native Armenian speakers, Arthur spent over a decade creating a simplified English-Armenian dictionary.

Arthur Bedian was also a family man, and took much joy in being a part of the lives of his children, Lisa Bedian Kurtz and her husband Robert, of St. Charles, Mo., and Greg Bedian and his wife Silva, and his grandchildren Knar, Garin, and Daron Bedian, of Arlington Heights, Ill. He was predeceased by his sister Sue (Surpouhi) Neman, and is survived by his sister Carolyn (Keghouhi) Chalmers and her husband George of Middletown, N.J., and his extended family and many friends.

The 40-day requiem (karasounk) service will be held on Sun., April 14, 2013 at St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in Granite City. Memorials may be given to St. Gregory’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Granite City, the Hairenik Association, or Meridian Village Benevolent Care, and will be accepted by Irwin Chapel, 3960 Maryville Road, Granite City, IL 62040 (

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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