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Armenian Culture Supporter Raffik Bagdassarian Dies

Staff Report

Mr. Raffik Bagdassarian of San Francisco passed away in October 2008. His family requested that remembrances be made to the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State to honor his lifetime interest in Armenian culture and scholarship. Below is Mr. Baghdassarian’s biography.

Raffik Bagdassarian was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on March 5, 1927 to Arevik and Sarkis Bagdassarian. He lost his mother around the age of 7, soon after the birth of his sister Bella. Shortly thereafter, he and his family left Russia and moved to Kazvin, Iran, where he grew up. He served in the Iranian military and later worked as an engineer and surveyor throughout Iran. He married Elza Hacopian in Kazvin in 1952 and had 2 daughters, Arevik and Isabella.

In 1962 the family moved to San Francisco in pursuit of opportunities in a non-Muslim country. He was employed by Pan American Airways in the flight training division of the company and traveled extensively around the world with his family. Raffik worked tirelessly within the Armenian community in San Francisco to promote Armenian culture and traditions and was one of the supporting members of the Armenian Cultural Association in San Francisco. He was an avid athlete and sportsman, as well as a historian and scholar of Armenian language, culture, literature, and music. He had a masterful Armenian script and as an artisan, hand crafted detailed miniatures of traditional Armenian musical instruments.

He retired and moved to Sacramento to be closer to his grandchildren, Alexander and Natalie. After a lengthy illness he passed away on October 9, 2008.  He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and community.