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Paul John Geragos


1927 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Paul John Geragos Obituary
January 23, 1927 - October 21, 2016 Paul J. Geragos, beloved husband, father and grandfather passed away peacefully at his home in La Cañada Flintridge on October 21st at the age of 89. He was the family's patriarch and the ultimate role model and confidante to his three sons and all that were fortunate enough to know him. Born in Evanston, Illinois to two Armenian Genocide survivors, Paul was raised with his sister Gloria (Apramian) by a single mother when his father died extraordinarily young when he lost everything during the Great Depression. Paul's mother, who was extremely inspirational and unflagging in her spirit and drive eventually remarried Aram Arslanian and they moved to Los Angeles and set out to succeed. Paul started college at Valparaiso and eventually transferred to UCLA graduating with a degree in International Relations. He was employed at Gold's clothing store when one weekend his friend convinced him to go an Armenian dance. That is when he was asked to dance by Betty Jane (Krajian). Betty Jane and Paul married in Fresno and started their life in Los Angeles with very little money but plenty of dreams. Betty Jane, a school teacher, convinced Paul to go to The USC Law School. He drove up to the campus where the admissions director told him, "If your grades and scores are what you say they are you are accepted." Paul provided proof of his academic prowess and Betty Jane put him through law school. Upon completing law school and passing the Bar Paul became a Deputy District Attorney. Several months into his job Paul and Betty Jane had their first son, Mark. Paul had an illustrious legal career spanning nearly sixty years. The first thirteen years of his professional career he was a hard charging Major Crimes Prosecutor with the LADA's office. He never would have left the DA's office which he called, "the best job you could ever have," but for Betty Jane who declared she wasn't going to put 3 boys through college on $17,000 per year. So he left the DA's office and went out on his own. Other than a brief partnership for a year he was a solo practitioner for almost 11 years until he partnered with his son Mark when he became a lawyer in 1983 and they inaugurated Geragos & Geragos. Years later his son Matthew joined the firm. Paul would say that working with his sons were the best years of his professional career. At the same time he lived out his artistic desires through his youngest son, Michael who became an architect, which was one of Paul's fondest dreams. In 2001, Paul had the first of several strokes which debilitated his physical ability and mental acuity but not his spirit. A young lawyer under his tutelage was quoted as saying that Paul was one of the last "warriors." Paul's last case never even got to the jury because Paul successfully convinced the trial judge to dismiss the case against his client. During his legal career as a District Attorney he prosecuted over twenty death penalty cases and never lost. In private practice he defended seventeen death penalty cases and not one of his clients ever received the death penalty. Paul lived and breathed the law. He was not just a warrior in the courtroom but a walking talking encyclopedia of the law before there was ever a Lexis or Westlaw. He served on the board of many legal organizations including CALJIC, as well as serving as General Counsel for the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America for over 40 years. Paul was an avid Cubs fans, dedicated USC Trojan and a member of the most celebrated USC law school class of all time. Ultimately, however, Paul's proudest accomplishment was his family. The love of his life, Betty Jane who he was married to for sixty three years, his son Mark and his wife Paulette (Kassabian), son Matthew and his wife Karen (Agajanian), son Michael and his five grandchildren, Rachel, Mikey, Teny, Jacob and Ruby. The Geragos family will celebrate his life on November 27th at 1 pm at St. Gregory Armenian Church in Pasadena. They welcome all to attend. In lieu flowers, the family requests donations to be made in Paul's name to either St. Gregory Armenian Church, 2265 East Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, California 91107 or the Western Diocese Endowment Fund (WDEF) for the benefit of the Armenian Summer Camp, 3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, California 91504.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Nov. 11 to Nov. 13, 2016
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