Stephen Hagopian, a renowned expert in carpet cleaning, stain removal, and restoration for more than five decades in the Detroit metropolitan area, died on Oct. 1 in Arizona. He was 86.
Steve’s talent in resurrecting and restoring fine carpets and fabrics made him the “first phone call” of the who’s who in Detroit, and garnered him numerous Best of Detroit honors through the years. His skills were honed in his teens, while working side by side with his father as the Hagopian & Sons reputation in the Detroit community was forming. By the 1960’s and 1970’s, Steve had become known nationally for his personal ability to meticulously restore the most difficult challenges on carpets, tapestries, and fabrics of all kinds.
Steve was born in Detroit in 1928 to Cariana (Donikian) and Haroutun Hagopian, Armenian Genocide survivors who left Istanbul to settle in Detroit and start a new life, raising five children. In the family of the Hagopian siblings, Steve was the oldest of three brothers, extremely proud of his Armenian heritage, and always fluent in the language. He graduated from Cass Technical High School in the top of his class and went on to the University of Michigan, which he graduated in 1951 with a bachelor of science in chemistry.
Following college, Steve entered military service with the Marines. In 1953 he met the love of his life, Honey (Grace) Zararian, in New York City. They married and settled in Detroit, where Steve continued in his role in the family business. His chemistry background, diligent work ethic, and early hands-on experience propelled him to be the regional expert in stain removal and carpet cleaning as recognized by the National Institute of Rug Cleaners.
The 1960’s saw a continued growth in the Hagopian & Sons carpet and furniture cleaning business. New techniques to process a larger volume of rugs while maintaining superior cleaning quality were Steve’s focus areas. He developed the Hagopian & Sons state-of-the-art, fully automated carpet and rug cleaning facility, which opened in 1969 and still operates today on 8 Mile Road in Oak Park, Mich. It was, and still is, the largest specialty carpet/rug cleaning center of its kind in the Midwest.
The family’s business soon expanded to include carpet sales, and in 1976 Steve created a new company to specialize strictly in residential and commercial cleaning, stain removal, and restoration of carpets and upholstery. The new business he created, called “Steve Hagopian & Company,” still operates today in the Detroit metro area.
Steve was a true connoisseur of the arts. His interests ranged from the love of fine woven rugs and tapestries to extensive world travel and classical music. He supported the Michigan Opera Theater on many levels, as a Benefactor and Capital Campaign Contributor, and numerous Armenian organizations. Included among his many affiliations are the St. John’s Armenian Church, the National Institute of Rug Cleaners, and the Building Service Contractors Association International.
He is pre-deceased by his wife Honey and his second wife Dee (Warner). He is survived by daughter Barbara (Gary Gumushian); son George (Christine Vyskocil); daughter Stephanie (Christopher Secontine); and grandchildren Andrea and Adam Gumushian; George, Rachel, Hannah, and Rebecca Hagopian; and Grace and Gabriella Secontine.
A private funeral service was held on Oct. 13 at St. John’s Armenian Church in Southfield, Mich., which included the Marine Corps Honor Guard. Arrangements were in the care of Simon Javizian Funeral Directors.