George Krikor Kamajian of Thousand Oaks, California (formerly of Havertown, Pennsylvania) passed away peacefully on July 30, 2020. Husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, he was born in Troy, New York to Nerses and Amelia Kamajian (Aintab, Turkey). He was four weeks shy from celebrating his 99th birthday. He was predeceased by his wife, Alice Deradoorian (Pawtucket, Rhode Island) and is survived by two sons, Dr. Steven Kamajian (Margaret Mooradian) of Glendale, California, and Dr. George Kamajian and his wife Debra of Clearwater, Florida. George was a loving grandfather to George, Lily (Joe Lamagna), Natalie, Derek, Ani, Janae and Jacqueline. He was also blessed with three great-grandchildren: Elle, Joseph and Leonardo. Loving nieces and nephews mourn his loss as well.
George was one of the last of the ‘greatest generation’ having served his country in two wars (WWII and Korea) in the Army Air Corps, later named the Air Force. A member of the 418th Night Fighter Squadron, he served as a radar operator aboard a P-61 Black Widow flying missions over the Pacific Theater in WWII. Combat wounded and in recognition of his service to his country, George was awarded a number of combat service medals. At the time of Honorable Discharge, he had earned the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
He met the love of his life (“my Alice,” he’d say) at an Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) dance in Boston; they got married on Christmas Day. He graduated from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He retired as a senior agent for New York Life Insurance Company, a CLU (Certified Life Underwriter) and was a member of their Million Dollar Round Table. He was a tireless servant of the church, serving on the Board of Trustees for St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church in Philadelphia, that Church’s national representative, and editor and founder of the Illuminator, St Gregory’s newsletter.
George was active in community life on both the east and west coasts of the United States and quietly supported Armenian causes and especially Armenians in need wherever he found them. He was an avid reader, collector of stamps and coins, master carpenter and woodworker; he also loved to draw. His musical taste ranged widely from Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey to big band and opera. Every weekend the house radio was tuned to the Metropolitan Opera broadcast performance. He woke up at 5 am every day (“we had to get up that time for the army so don’t complain”), put on the radio and listen to music. He would fan coals for hours to make the best shish kebab in the world and never ever used a fire starter. He would never eat fish or hot dogs (“I worked in a processing plant. You have no idea how they’re made”). He bought a new car every two years and lived modestly. (“There’s only two ways to have money: Earn it and don’t spend it and earning it is the hard way”). He loved to travel the world. It was common for him to come home early from work with a trailer hitched to the family car and take a spontaneous 3500-mile road trip or jaunt to the Jersey beaches before there was an Atlantic City Expressway. He smoked cigars and drank Rock and Rye with his war buddies only. He loved fixing anything that was broken. He believed in hard work and education. He was a generous host and loved to entertain family and friends.
He was loved by many and will be deeply and genuinely missed by all who had the good fortune of knowing him.
Graveside services at Swan Point cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island are postponed because of the pandemic. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church, 8701 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19128