Donald Arakelian passed away on Sunday, June 17, 2012, following a lengthy illness. He was born to Sahag and Mary Arakelian on July 19, 1929, in Tijuana, Mexico. Don was educated in Mexico until the age of 14 when his family was able to immigrate to the United States, settling in Sanger, Ca., where he continued his education. He graduated from Sanger High School in 1948 and California State University, Fresno, in 1952 prior to his induction into the U.S. Army, serving in Korea. Upon his return to civilian life in 1955, he began work on his graduate studies at Fresno State while working as an inspector of fruits and vegetables for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was at that time, he met Adeline Torosian of Reedley in a class at Fresno State. They were married the following year in 1956, and settled in Reedley, where she was a first year teacher. He began his teaching career at Laton High School the next year and continued his education at CSUF, where he received a Master's Degree in Secondary Education Counseling and an Elementary and Secondary Administrative Credential. He and his wife were blessed with three sons, Donald Allen, Dean Bryan, and Stuart Bradley. During their formative years he actively supported his sons in their sporting events and academic pursuits. At that time, he also utilized his writing skills and interest in journalism as a corresponding reporter for The Fresno Bee and the Hanford Sentinel. He thoroughly enjoyed being involved in sporting events and working with young people, whether in the classroom or the playing field. He spent his summers working as the Director of the Laton Youth Recreation Program. He was a charter member of the Laton Lions Club and an active member of the Laton Chamber of Commerce, which honored him as the Man of the Year in 1988. He had been an avid CSUF Bulldog Booster many years and enjoyed the opportunity to be in New York at Madison Square Garden when the 1983 basketball team won the NIT tournament. He continued his 40 year teaching and administrative career with the Laton Unified District, serving as high school principal most of those years. He had high expectations and made a significant lifelong positive impact on the youth he helped to develop. He was the Fresno County Teacher of the Year nominee from the Laton Unified School District in 1993. Six years prior to his retirement with the Laton Unified School District, he and his family moved to Fresno. He continued his work in the field of education teaching Spanish for State Center College as an adjunct instructor at the Selma and Clovis campuses from 1990 to the year 2000. He has been a member of the Fowler St. Gregory Armenian Church since 1960, where he has served as a trustee, Sunday School teacher and superintendent, and coach for the ACYO basketball team for several years. He has been a member of the Fresno Chapter of the Knights of Vartan since 1965. He is survived by his loving wife Adeline; his sons, Donald of Hanford, Dean and his wife Shari of Modesto, and Stuart and his wife Caroline of Danville; his brother and sister-in-law, John and Madeline Arakelian of Sanger; four granddaughters, Talia and Lenna Arakelian of Danville, and Lauren and Morgan Arakelian of Modesto; his sister in law Rosalin Nalbandian of Fresno, and many nieces and nephews also survive. Visitation will be at Yost & Webb Funeral Chapel on Sunday, June 24, 2012, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. A Knights of Vartan Service will be conducted at 6:00 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held at St. Gregory Armenian Church in Fowler, California, on Monday, June 25, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be at Masis Ararat Cemetery in Fresno at 2:00 p.m. Remembrances may be made to St. Gregory Armenian Church; California Armenian Home; or donor's favorite charity.
Published in the Fresno Bee on June 22, 2012