Obituary of Ara Kradjian
Ara Kradjian, 84, of Endwell, passed away on February 3, 2018, surrounded by his loving family after a brave fight against brain cancer. Ara was born on June 27, 1933, in Binghamton, the son of Kenneth and Haigouhi Kradjian. Ara's parents escaped the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in 1915, and they passed down to him an indomitable spirit of perseverance, strong work ethic, deep love of community, and abiding gratitude for the opportunities he received growing up in the United States. After graduating from Binghamton Central High School, Ara attended the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, where he served in the ROTC, played football, and was president of the University's chapter of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity for two years. He graduated in 1955 with a B.S.E. in Economics. From 1955 to 1957, Ara served as a Lieutenant (J.G.) with the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion, better known as "Seabees," and was tasked with building weather stations in the Caribbean and Antarctica. Ara then returned to Binghamton, where he joined his father and cousins, Harry and Diran Kradjian, in the family businesses at Kradjian Properties and Bates Troy Laundry and Dry Cleaning. Over the years, Ara was instrumental in developing numerous local real estate projects with Kradjian Properties, including the Metrocenter Mall, the Holiday Inn-SUNY, and the Vestal Steakhouse, and he led efforts to expand and transform Bates Troy into a leading healthcare linen service. His son, Brian Kradjian, joined him in the family businesses in 1993. Ara loved working with his family and his many employees and colleagues who became like family. Ara was actively engaged in community civic and social life. Among other things, he served on the Board of Directors of Banker's Trust Bank; was a member of the UHS Foundation; was a founding member of the Harper Forum (now the Binghamton Forum) and the Pigskin Club; and helped create the Binghamton Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Arena Club. He was a devoted member of the Armenian community and church. He was also a generous philanthropist, who founded scholarships at Binghamton University and the University of Pennsylvania and supported many local arts organizations, including First Night Binghamton, Tri Cities Opera, and the Binghamton Philharmonic, as well as individual artists. He was a strong supporter of the Goodwill Theatre in Johnson City. Ara was an avid horse enthusiast, hunter, outdoorsman, sports fan, tennis player, and wine lover who lived life to the fullest. He was happiest riding a horse, watching the races at Saratoga or Del Mar, skiing and fishing with his sons, walking in the woods with his dog, cheering on his favorite football teams, playing tennis, or sharing delicious food and wine with his family and friends. He had a warm, generous spirit, an immense sense of humor, a booming voice, and an infectious laugh. He will be deeply missed. Ara is survived by his wife of thirty years, Naima Kradjian; two sons and a daughter-in-law, Eric Kradjian of Phoenix, Arizona; and Brian and Anahit Kradjian of Vestal; and one granddaughter, Jordan Barnett-Kradjian of Binghamton. He is predeceased by his first wife, Sophie Boudaghian Kradjian. Ara is also survived by his sisters and brothers-in-law, Alice and Henri Janian of Palm Desert, California; Astrid Dadourian of Manhattan; and Diane and Dr. Lewis Robinson of Phoenix, Arizona; his cousins Diran and Socie Kradjian of Binghamton; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Nena Bloomquist and James Farrell of Marlborough, Massachusetts; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family. Funeral Services will be held at Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church, 44 Main Street, Binghamton, Friday, February 9 at 11 a.m. The family will receive friends at J.A. McCormack Sons Funeral Home, 141 Main Street, Binghamton, on Thursday, February 8, from 4 to 7 p.m. A private family burial service will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Goodwill Theatre Inc., 67 Broad Street, Johnson City, New York 13790.