GLENDALE–Former Asbarez editor and long-time Armenian Revolutionary Federation fieldworker Vahik Gourjian passed away last Sunday, leaving behind a lifetime of dedication to the Armenian cause and a decades of service to Armenian communities in the Middle East and especially on the Western US.
Gourjian was born on October 7, 1940 in Kermanshah, Iran as the second son of Arshak and Jenik Gourjian.
After his family moved to Tehran in 1945, Gourjian attended and graduated from Koushesh Davtian Armenian School. He attended Tehran University majoring in architecture.
In those years, he led the ARF Junior Organization and created the Tehran Armenian School Alumni Association. At the same time, he also worked at the editorial offices of Alik Newspaper.
Years later, he moved to Lebanon to study at the ARF School there and also enrolled in the American University of Beirut, from where he graduated with a degree in political science.
While in Lebanon, in 1972, Gourdjian married Louisa Kalfayan and had two sons Varant and Nareg. In 1975 the Gourdjian family moved to Los Angeles as an ARF fieldworker and became the executive secretary of the ARF Western US Central Committee. In 1979, he also became the editor of the Asbarez newspaper.
In the 70s and 80s the California Armenian community was in transition. With various political upheavals in the Middle East forcing mass exodus of Armenia’s to the United States, the ARF was forced to reorganize its institutions and the community to meet the needs of the growing demographic.
Gourjian was influential in overseeing and directing efforts to enlarge the community’s capabilities and address the challenges facing the ARF and the community at the time. His leadership and his firm commitment and dedication guided many generations in the Western US to marshal the Armenian Cause and become active in the community.
In 1999, Gourjian became the Armenian community representative for State Assemblyman and later State Senator Jack Scott.
Gourjian was a dedicated husband, father and grandfather. In his work, he was the consummate professional who did not shy away from responsibility and always respecting those around him, often through self-sacrifice.
He will be missed, but more importantly the lessons he left behind will live on forever.