Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lilyan Der Garbedian Chooljian, Former BHS Teacher

Lilyan Der Garbedian Chooljian, Former BHS Teacher Lilyan was born in Fresno on October 24, 1929, to loving parents, Dikran and Vasil Der Garabedian who were survivors of the Armenian Genocide from Van, Armenia. She was raised on the family farm on First and Sierra with her two older sisters, Seda and Rubye. She attended Wolters Elementary in Fresno and graduated from Clovis High School in the Class of 1947. She briefly attended Fresno State College and later moved to San Diego with her mother and step-father where she attended San Diego State. She was a member of the Delta Zeta Sorority, and graduated with a BA Degree in Education. Later she received a Master of Science Degree in Education at the University of Southern California. Settling in the Los Angeles area, Lilyan taught typing and business at Burbank High School for 17 years, where her adoring students referred to her as Miss G. Lilyan loved to travel, having the luxury of being a single high school teacher and traveled the world on her summer vacations. In 1972 she was introduced by family and friends to Kenneth Chooljian, who had recently been widowed. They were married later that year and she returned to her roots in Fresno and became a wife and mother to Kenneth's two daughters, Kathy and Janice. Kenneth and Lilyan were married for 35 years until Kenneth's passing in 2008. Lilyan was very active in many organizations such as the Ladies Aid at Holy Trinity Church, the General Society of Vasbouragan, the Sunnyside Garden Club, and acted as the editor of the Varak magazine. She was very proud of her Armenian and Vanetzi heritage and devoted much of her time to the church. She was an avid sports fan and especially loved the Fresno State Bulldogs and 49ers. She passed away on January 8, 2014 in Fresno. With her effervescent smile and twinkling eyes Lilyan was loved by many and will be missed by all. Lilyan was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Chooljian; parents, Dikran and Vasil Der Garabedian; step-father, Nishan Nalbandian; and her sisters, Seda Barnes and Rubye Manoogian. She is survived by her two daughters, Kathy Merlo and her husband Mike and grandson Preston, and Janice Helman and her husband Don and grandsons Alex and Austin; her nephews, Dick Manoogian and Harry Manoogian; her niece, Arlyne Sahatdjian and their families; and nephews, Dr. John Garry, Jim Garry and Gerald Chooljian and their families. The family would like to thank everyone for their support and give special thanks to Dr. Steven Chooljian and her loving and devoted caregivers, Pula Gayer and Meseret Tefera. Viewing will be held at Yost & Webb, on Sunday January 12, 2014, 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held at Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church on Monday, January 13, 2014, at 11:00 a.m., followed by interment at Ararat Cemetery. Remembrances may be made to Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, 2226 Ventura St., Fresno, Ca. 93721. Published in the Fresno Bee on Jan. 12, 2014

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