Letter: In Memory of ‘Dashnak Pete’

Dear Editor:

Bedros Peter Stepanian passed away peacefully following surgery on June 22, in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Bedros from Amarij* (in Keghi county) preferred to be called “Dashnak Pete,” and attended many Armenian functions no matter the location, including Detroit where he had many friends. He was a long-time subscriber to The Armenian Weekly and frequently corresponded with me, a fellow Keghetsi. He will be sorely missed.

He retired as a railroad engineer and in recent years suffered with several health issues. His death heralds the sad realization that many of the first generation born in America are passing away. We are left wondering who will love Armenia and continue our search for genocide recognition and justice, like his generation had done.

Bedros from Amarij wanted no wake or funeral. He donated his body for medical research to the University of Buffalo Medical School. This is a magnanimous gesture on behalf of a truly remarkable Armenian American.

Please remember him in your prayers. May he rest forever coursing the fields and mountains of his beloved Keghi. Bedros, you will be missed by all of us who valued your friendship.

Betty Apigian Kessel


*Amarij is now called Ayanoğlu. Prior to the genocide, the village was home to 139 Armenians in 20 households.


Betty Apigian-Kessel

Betty (Serpouhie) Apigian Kessel was born in Pontiac, Mich. Together with her husband, Robert Kessel, she was the proprietor of Woodward Market in Pontiac and has two sons, Bradley and Brant Kessel. She belonged to the St. Sarkis Ladies Guild for 12 years, serving as secretary for many of those years. During the aftermath of the earthquake in Armenia in 1988, the Detroit community selected her to be the English-language secretary and she happily dedicated her efforts to help the earthquake victims. She has a column in the Armenian Weekly entitled “Michigan High Beat.”


  1. I was sorry to hear of Peter Stepanian’s death, also known as Dashnag Pete. We became close friends in the past years since we all met at the A.Y.F. Olympic games for numerous years. He was strong in his beliefs of the Dashnagsatoun principles and will be sorely missed. God Bless him. Stephan Dulgarian

  2. We were all saddened by the death of our beloved Uncle Bedros, may he rest in peace. Dashnag Pete left a legacy of love and adoration for his Armenian heritage. He can rest in peace with God’s blessings. Miss you and love Uncle Bedros!

  3. Rest in Peace Uncle Pete and know that you sister Maco ( and her family) will miss you dearly! May the peace and comfort of Eternal life be yours now. xoxo

  4. My Godfather and Uncle Pete Stepanian will always be in my heart. I can’t forget the several picnics at Camp Hayastan in Franklin, MA where, as a child, I watched him dance in amazement. He would never sit out a song, especially if it was the Sepastazi Bar!
    I miss you Uncle Pete.

  5. I just learned of my cousin Bedros’ passing. Although I live in Texas, we talked off and on throughout the years. After the passing of my grandfather Markarian from Niagara Falls in 2012, he was one of my last links to our families up there. He was a wise and funny man, and very knowledgable on our history. Cousin Bedros, Cousin Pete, rest in Power! My sons will know your names and your stories ( and your soujouk recipe!)
    ps if you are related to Bedros /Pete through the Keghetsis and the Markarian’s, please message me. There are many questions Cousin Pete andi never got to due to illness and missed communications.

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