Kaloust Christianian born February 1, 1927 in Beirut, Lebanon, passed away peacefully in Boulder on Friday July 13, 2018. Kaloust was the son Onnig and Nevart Christianian, Armenian Genocide survivors from Kayseri.
Kaloust attended Jemaran Armenian High School, and the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce where he developed his business skills. In his twenties, he launched a neck-tie manufacturing business and distributed his lines throughout the Middle East and Africa. This successful venture grew as he created partnerships with notable textile designers and manufacturers in France, Germany, and Italy, as well as distribution for European luxury menswear labels. In 1958, Kaloust expanded his business with the opening of his first exclusive boutique in Beirut’s Central Business District.
In 1960, Kaloust married Aroussiag “Arous” Balian. Together they had four children, and were happily married for 58 years. They lived through life’s adventures together; celebrating the good days, and in partnership together, weathering the more challenging times.
Keeping his family safe was of utmost priority for Kaloust. As the Lebanese Civil War escalated, life in Beirut became untenable. In 1976, and at the age of 49, Kaloust traveled to the United States to explore opportunities and begin the immigration process for his family. A visit to his sister’s family brought him to Boulder, Colorado. There, Kaloust appreciated the entrepreneurial spirit, the excellent educational institutions, the welcoming community, and the scenery of the Rockies, which reminded him of the familiar Swiss Alps. He enthusiastically began the process of establishing new roots in the area. His perseverance, optimism and boundless patience paid off when two years after arriving in the U.S., his family was granted permanent residency status and was reunited with him.
In 1980, Kaloust acquired Mike’s Camera, a photography store in downtown Boulder and engaged the family in participating in its operations. He expanded the business to include additional locations in the Denver metropolitan area, placing the company among the leading photo-specialty retailers in the nation and an iconic local institution.
Kaloust never truly retired, although he gradually withdrew from day-to-day operations allowing new family leadership to emerge. He enjoyed spending more time with his wife, children, grandchildren, and close friends. Kaloust truly delighted in the discovery and exploration that world travel provided, often returning to Europe, Asia and especially Armenia, where he and Arous enjoyed extended holidays.
Throughout his life, Kaloust was known as an insightful business leader, and a modest man in spite of his successes and accomplishments. He will be remembered for his unwavering optimism and his commitment and support towards his family and community.
Kaloust was a loving, loyal, and thoughtful husband, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his wife Aroussiag (Balian) Christianian; his children: daughter Arpie and husband Steve Chucovich; his sons Jirair and wife Aline (Sermerdjian) Christianian, Vahe and wife Kim (Herosian) Christianian, and Ara Alex Christianian; as well as his grandchildren Arek and Garen Chucovich, Ani, Lena, and Zaven Christianian, Alik, Viken, Nyree, and Sarine Christianian.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday July 17, 2018, at St. Illuminator’s Armenian Apostolic Cathedral, and burial was at Cedar Grove cemetery, in New York City.
A celebration of his life will take place in Colorado at a date to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the following non-profit organizations in memory of Kaloust Christianian:
918 Parker Street A14
Berkeley, CA 94710
Armenians of Colorado – School Fund
1373 Grant Street
Denver, CO 80203