BY ONNIG KESHISHIAN
From The Armenian Observer
This is an affirmation of a life. My friend and sometime intellectual mentor Kristapor (Seno) Pakradouni was called to his Maker.
Seno was “old school” but a very “with it”, and at times even avant-garde, person. I don’t know how he did it. He was a pre med student, in Beirut, Lebanon, like many of us, thinking that that was the best and most honorable way to serve his community. As it sometimes happens, his life got ahead of him. He had fallen in love and got married, had a child, and began looking for work.
In Beirut he became General Dro’s Executive Secretary. He often referred to it as his proudest moments.
Offered a position with a major contractor he moved his young family to, of all places, Africa. They lived there for several years before returning to Beirut.
He eventually moved his family, now numbering five (himself, his lovely wife Khatoune, sons Sevag and Viken, and daughter Nairi) to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles he worked for an educational film production company. The business was family owned and he quickly made a good impression and rose up the ranks. When the company was sold to Doubleday, Seno was unhappy with the new corporate culture. He figured he’d done well enough and wanted a labor of love, so he took the position of editor of the The Asbarez.
His mark on the community was immediate as the breadth, depth, and quality of the newspaper was well apparent. He also took the Asbarez from a weekly to a daily newspaper. To this day it remains the only daily Armenian newspaper outside of Armenia and Lebanon.
In the meantime, he continued his education at Cal State University at Los Angeles where he majored in French literature. I recall speaking to one of his former instructors who remarked that “all the professors in the department were particularly careful around Seno, in that he understood the subject matter often better than all of us”! Despite his brilliance Seno carried himself with great humility. He was a true intellectual.
At his graduation, which was held at the Hollywood Bowl, the president of the University announced that among all the graduates, there was one who was so superior to the rest, that he would call singly upon him to the stage. That afternoon Seno walked on stage alone, to receive his diploma.
He continued his graduate work at the University of California at Irvine.
He should have been a faculty member of an elite university but that wasn’t to be. Friends suggested a position in LAUSD, which may have caused some to scoff since that was such a mundane position for his abilities. He took the position without any resentment and was appreciated, and then taught a variety of classes as teaching of French abated.
Seno Pakradouni was always a major figure in our community. He held many significant positions in the Organization and also created and taught a standing HaiThahd curriculum for all the Prelacy schools.
I was truly honored when he requested that I introduce him when he was awarded “The Mesrob Mashdots” Medal by H.H. Aram I of the Cilician See.
In the later years of his life he would often gather his friends on the 4th of July at his house for a celebration.
The measure of a man can never be conveyed by a handful of words and paragraphs. But towards that end I can unequivocally say that Kristapor “Seno” Pakradouni was truly an intellectual lion of our community. He shall live on with all those that cherish his memory.
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Should be recalled that, outside of Armenia, Lebanon, and the United States, the Armenian community of Istanbul has not one, but TWO daily newspapers, Marmara and Jamanak. The latter is the oldest Armenian daily newspaper, published since 1908.