BY KRISTINE KESHISHIAN
The children and many friends of Mrs. Lucy Mirigian, lovingly referred to as Aunt Lu, celebrated her 105th Birthday at the home of Dr. Garo and Aida Mirigian, in Fremont, California, on August 6. More than 150 guests, many of them out-of-towners, were delighted to be part of the celebration. Commendations and good wishes were heaped upon her. Her birthday invitation appropriately read, “Est. 1906”, “Aged to perfection”. In lieu of gifts, donations went to the Armenian Educational Foundation, for the Mirigian School in Armenia.
Garo, her son, who acted as the MC, said lovingly and humorously that “Lu” was already working on her 110th birthday party, just as at the centennial, she began to plan this one. After Rev. ArchP. Khoren Habeshian, Pastor of St. Gregory Arm. Apos. Church of San Francisco blessed the food and the present company, family and friends enjoyed a delicious luncheon in a convivial atmosphere.
Lucy’s life begins in Erzeroum, the fifth child of Kevork and Altoun Sarkissian. Having contracted small pox as a small child, she lost the vision in her left eye and spent the rest of her life with one artificial eye. The Sarkissian family escaped Turkey just before the genocide. They made their home in Fresno where Lucy grew up. As a teenager she contracted typhoid fever and had to drop out of school. But Lucy being the fighter that she is worked her way back to school and completed her education. It is said that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger; and Lucy is a living proof of that adage.
Lucy married Ashod Mirigian in 1936 and they made their home in San Francisco. They were blessed with two children, Garo and Sonia. Lucy taught Sunday school and Armenian Saturday school in Fresno and San Francisco. Armenian GIs in World War II, having learned Armenian in Lucy’s classes, were able to write home to their parents. Lucy and Ashod encouraged their children to become active members of the Armenian community. Garo met Aida in the AYF, and Sonia met Hagop while she was teaching at the Ferrahian Armenian School. Both of her children are educators.
Besides being a lifelong member of the ARS, since 1945, (sixteen years ago, she received her 50-year membership pin), Lucy was also a member of St. Gregory’s Ladies Auxiliary, the Armenian-American Citizen League, and the AARP. At any of these functions, you would see her cheerfully pitching in, helping in the kitchen, serving meals, giving advice, always cheerful and with a smile.
Her advice to the guests, in her lucid, organized, cogent and extemporaneous comments was, DO IT. Don’t wait for tomorrow, JUST DO IT!