Martin Felikian passed away peacefully of natural causes at the age of 84, comforted by his loving family and friends, on the morning of July 25, 2014, in Whittier, California.
Martin was born on September 15, 1929, in Kharkov, Ukraine, to Grigor and Marousia Felikian. He was the first of three children, followed by his brother Charlie, and his sister Victoria. Tragedy hit the family in the summer of 1941, when Germans bombed Kharkov. Directly across the street from a factory that was hit, the Felikian home was entirely demolished leaving in its wake the death of Martin's grandfather, cousin, aunt and baby sister Victoria. As a result of WWII, during the Soviet Era, Martin and his family endured many more hardships and tragedies. These grave events prompted his family to leave their city in order to save themselves from further devastation.
After the war, in 1945, Martin and his family lived in a displaced persons camp in Stuttgart, Germany. Camp occupants became affectionately known as DPs. The camp was comprised primarily of Armenian refugees setup to facilitate immigration to the United States. Martin and his family spent five years in the DP camp before being granted sponsorship to Ellis Island, New York. The journey to the United States was one of immeasurable excitement. Martin, who had only read about this great country as a young boy, would now be experiencing it firsthand.
Upon arrival, Martin, his brother Charlie, and parents, learned English as quickly as possible in order to reap the benefits of their adopted land. However, with limited formal education, they were relegated to hard labor and factory work.
The Felikians had a brief stay in Brooklyn, New York, and at the age of 22, Martin and his family moved to Los Angeles, California, where they reconnected with many of their fellow DP Armenians. Armed with a great work ethic, inherited from his parents, Martin, with his brother Charlie at his side, established a floor covering/installation business that ultimately became Felikians' Carpet in Pasadena, California. Charlie and Martin's handshake alone was symbolic of their assurance that Felikians would only provide the best service and quality. Their stores, which are still open and thriving today, have been around for half a century proving the strength of the brothers' business acumen and integrity.
Out of the tragedy that was WWII, Martin Felikian and Tamara Aiwasian, both DP refugees, found each other years later. They both cherished their ability to work hard and progress under a free enterprise Democratic government. In 1956, not long after settling in Los Angeles, and after a brief courtship, Martin married the love of his life, Tamara Aiwasian. Throughout their 42 years, they were inseparable, until Tamara lost her battle with cancer in 1999.
Martin lived his life as fully as possible. He was an articulate, intelligent, athletic, hardworking, generous and loving man who was well loved and respected by his family, friends and the Armenian community. He will be deeply missed.
Martin Felikian is survived by his daughter, Diane Cabraloff, and her husband Al; his son, Greg Felikian, and his wife Gina; Martin's five grandchildren: Anush, Nicholas, Nicole, Andrew and Natalie; his brother, Charlie Felikian, and his wife Vickie; and their two sons, his nephews, Kirk and John; and numerous cousins.
The Funeral Mass for Martin Felikian is planned at Glendale's St. Gregory's Armenian
Catholic Church at 1510 E. Mountain St., Glendale, CA 91207, on Wednesday, July 30, at 11am with burial services to follow at Rose Hills Mortuary in Whittier. In lieu of flowers, the Felikian family requests that contributions be made to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs' Church at 1327 Pleasant Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90033.
Published in Pasadena Star-News on July 29, 2014