Avedis George Mishigian (1942-2015)

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The Metro Detroit area has sustained another devastating loss with the passing of a devoted Armenian activist, Avedis George Mishigian, 73, of Tecumseh, Mich.

Avedis George Mishigian

Avedis stood out in this community not only for his fair hair and height but for his extreme dedication to the wellbeing of Armenia and to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Detroit “Azadamard” Gomideh, of which he was a member since 2001.

He was born in Jaffa, Palestine, to Kevork and Takouhi (Miledjian) Mishigian and was one of five children. The family moved to Amman, Jordan, in 1956 and when Avedis was 14 they immigrated to the United States, settling in Waukegan, Ill.

George Michigian attended Carthage College in Wisconsin and served in the Foreign Service, stationed in Korea. He was conversant in several languages.

He married Sona Dakarian in Chicago in 1975, settling in Ann Arbor, Mich. Their union was blessed with daughters Talin, Tamar, and Teny, who have been involved in Armenian community affairs, much like their parents.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration, Avedis continued on to post-graduate studies at Eastern Michigan University.

His professional career included working as a production control manager for DST Industries in Clinton.

Avedis used his strong business background to then become a proprietor of Warren Sheldon Mobil in Canton. He later purchased M&D Automotive Service in Saline, and successfully ran it for 22 years. He traveled extensively after retiring in 2010.

The warmth of his outgoing personality and cordiality, coupled with his witty sense of humor and intellect, endeared him to many. He was one of a kind. His love for Armenia and Karabagh knew no bounds.

Avedis was a member of St. Sarkis Church in Dearborn. He was a firm believer in the Armenian Cause and a  supporter of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

It was his passion and pride in his Armenian heritage that led him to take several trips to Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh). The family trip to Armenia and Artsakh in the summer of 2013 was by far his most memorable.

It seems destiny controlled  his final trip to the homeland, where they visited cousins in Yerevan. Avedis contacted the Karabagh Mission Office in the U.S. asking what suggestions they had about what he could take to Karabagh. They suggested that since a Youth Sports Complex was planned to be built in the capital of Stepanakert, some sports-related items would be appreciated.

Remembering his own youthful days, his big heart generously purchased duffle bags full of soccer balls, basketballs, and tennis rackets, including air pumps, since he deflated the balls himself for ease of transport. He delivered these much-needed items to the Sport State Committee Office in Stepanakert.

Avedis was an avid backgammon player who frequently attended events, especially picnics, to enjoy the challenge of seasoned and novice players alike. He had a competitive spirit but was eager to teach backgammon to anyone willing to learn.

Friendliness was only one of his fine characteristics. He was talkative, entertaining, and knew how to make people happy. He possessed a God-given disposition to embrace the spirit of humanity with a sincere heart. His absence in our midst will certainly be felt. And one cannot help but wonder if the children who received his generous donations know the value of the benefactor they lost.

Avedis’s funeral was held on Wed., May 6. Memorial donations can be made to the ANCA Endowment Fund.

Avedis George Mishigian is survived by his wife Sona, daughters Talin, Tamar, and Teny, sister Madeleine Loughran, brother Dikran Mishigian, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Kevork and Takouhi Mishigian, brother Dr. Edmond Mishigian, and Vahi Mishigian.

Rest in peace, dear Avedis.

* * *

I was sad to learn of the passing of a very dear and proud Vanetsi born in Watertown, Mass., Liberty Miller, also known as Azadouhie Amerian. Libby passed away at age 95 on July 4, 2014, in Northbridge, Calif.

What a beautiful name “Azadouhie” is—the feminine of “azad,” meaning “freedom.” Libby was the niece of famous Armenian-American artist Arshile Gorky, who was featured in this column a few years ago thanks to much personal information and insight she provided. Libby happily resided for many years with her daughter Cher and son-in-law Michael Sesma. She was a long-time employee of the United States government, and moved with her family to California during World War II. It was always a joy to hear her voice. Her laughter was infectious—a give-away of her charming, delightful, and upbeat personality. Have you ever known of a Vanetsi that was not proud of their ethnic origin? Libby belonged to the fraternal Vanetsi organization and attended many of their conventions. She was well known and a dear friend to many Detroit-area Vanetsis.

She traveled extensively with her daughter to many parts of this country. It is always gratifying to know of someone who lives a long and happy life before passing on to their reward. I will always remember her and treasure our friendship.

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