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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Florida Armenians Mourns the Passing of Harry Keleshian (1937-2016)

Harry KFlorida Armenians mourns the passing of Harry Arsen Keleshian, who passed away in Boca Raton, FL on February 27. He was 78 years old. The entire Florida Armenians team sends their condolences to the Keleshian family.

The Greenwich Time wrote a wonderful article on Harry Keleshian’s life and family background. The Time states:

Keleshian turned a small card store selling newspapers, candies and tobacco into a substantial real estate operation in central Greenwich and was instrumental in efforts to make Greenwich Avenue an attractive destination for shoppers. The son of an Armenian who survived the murderous campaign directed by Turkish forces during World War I, he felt the burden of history in personal terms, family members said.

He was active in the cause to memorialize the genocide of 1915, as well as being a prominent figure and donor in the regional Armenian community.

Keleshian was born in Bronx, NY and spent most of his life in Greenwich, CT as a small business owner, philanthropist, and local community leader. He spent his later years in Boca Raton, FL with his family.

Keleshian is survived by his wife Edna, daughter Alyssa Keleshian Bonomo, sister Deanna Stepanian, two grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews. A son, Arsen Harry Keleshian, predeceased him.

“There are few truly kind people left in the world, and fewer still that possess the grace of humility. Harry Keleshian possessed both of these rare traits,” stated Arsine Kaloustian, Florida Armenians Public Affairs Director.

“Harry never shied away from giving of both his time and treasure to not only the Armenian community, but the community at large,” Kaloustian said. “He was always the first to walk across the room to shake a hand or give a hug to someone he hadn’t seen in ages – and that kind of energy always fills up a room. His wisdom, generosity, and dry sense of humor will be missed by all of us.”

A Memorial Service will be held at St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL on Thursday, March 24th, at 12:15 pm. Members of the community are invited to join the family for Hokejash (memorial meal) following the service in Mardigian Hall.

Memorial donations can be made to St. David Armenian Church or to the Armenian Church Endowment Fund – Memo: Harry & Edna Keleshian Endowment (to benefit St. David Church).

Checks to the Endowment Fund should be mailed to: Diocese of the Armenian Church, 630 Second Ave., New York, NY 10016.

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Sun Sentinel Features Upcoming South Florida Armenian Food Festival

SunSentinel, SDAC Food Festival-2016

This week, Sun Sentinel reporter Marci Shatzman wrote a story about the upcoming Armenian Food Festival at St. David Armenian Church entitled “Kebabs, pastries, music at Armenian food festival.” After many years, the festival has become a staple in the community as the largest Armenian Food Festival in Florida.

The Armenian Food Festival will take place at St. David Armenian Church, 2300 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431 on Saturday, March 5th from 10:00am to 10:00 pm, and Sunday, March 6th from 12:00pm to 10:pm.

St. David Armenian Church parishioner Mary Demir told the Sun Sentinel:

“Bourma is like baklava, but the shape is different with more nuts and less dough,” said Demir, of Delray Beach, a church member. “It’s traditional Armenian cooking, and this is how we grew up. Even when we entertain we cook this kind of food.”

None of the food will be frozen, she said, adding “the Easter bread will come right out of the oven and the next day it will be sold.”

Schatzman’s story covered the entire menu and the hard work being done behind the scenes by the festival organizers. The story quotes festival chairwoman Maral Khanjian, parish council chairwoman Marta Batmasian, and Florida Armenians public affairs director Arsine Kaloustian.

The church had more than 3,000 visitors the last time they had a food festival in 2014, Khanjian said.

No doubt, the Florida Armenian community hopes to meet and exceed those numbers by reaching more people than ever. Sharing Armenian culture, history, and food with our neighbors is a great opportunity (and a lot of fun) and we thank Marci for her article.

You can read the entire Sun Sentinel story here, and you can send Marci Shatzman a thank you email here.