The Armenian Rugs Society has suffered a great loss with the recent passing of Araxi Bezdjian. For forty years, Araxi was married to Joseph Bezdjian, long-time president of the ARS. Araxi was always at Joe’s side, offering her ideas for ARS projects, providing us with treats from her kitchen, and adding her zest for living to all our activities.
Araxi was the first-born child of the Kabbendjian family of Nazareth, Israel. She was born in 1945 in a difficult time in wartime Palestine in a family of genocide survivors, Stepan and Lucintak. During her formative years her family was of humble and modest means, but Araxi learned her strength and generosity and ability to keep her grace under pressure from her devoted parents.
Araxi became a school teacher, and in 1976, she married Joe. The following year, Ara, Joe’s son from a previous marriage, came to live with them in San Mateo, California.
In 1980, Araxi joined Joe in his oriental rug company. Within five years, the business had grown from two to ten employees and continued to prosper until Joe and Araxi sold it, thirty-one years later. They were that rare couple who were together at work, at home, and traveling, yet almost never spoke a cross word. They adored each other and shared a loving and happy life.
Araxi was a special person. She was an excellent cook, a good housewife, and a supportive, loving partner to Joe. She made friends easily, and her friends loved and respected her and appreciated her kindness and loyalty. To her grandchildren, Alex and Nick, she was a playmate and the source of favorite foods she would cook especially for them. She was equally generous to her many nieces, nephews, and godchildren, all of whom loved her dearly.
As the eldest child in her family, she would make a point of seeing her parents and siblings whenever she could. Each year, she would take two or three weeks off from work to visit her parents in Israel, and she would always reach out to her family in their times of need. Her kindness and her generosity were legendary.
The last three months of her life, her health failed. After several false diagnoses, she was found to have cancer of the colon, which had spread throughout her body. After surgery and nineteen days in the hospital, she returned home, where, on April 3, 2016, she passed away.
Hratch Kozibeyokian, the president of ARS, delivered a moving eulogy at Araxi’s funeral, reflecting on the lasting legacy that Araxi has left behind.
Joseph Bezdjian expressed his sincere thanks to everyone for their outpouring support during this difficult time, and for the many donations to the ARS that were made in memory of Araxi. We will all miss her.