It is with immense sorrow that we announced the passing our very own Oriord Ano, Anahid Avanessian, who passed away in the evening of Monday, February 25.
Our beloved Ord. Ano was the shining example of the most dedicated and committed community service provider. She spent over 30 years of her life at Tufenkian Preschool and Kindergarten in a capacity that doesn’t fit a singular title.
She began her career at our school in October of 1985 as an administrative assistant. However with the passing of each academic year, her role grew and she became a valuable member of the school family. She oversaw the school’s daily financial activities; she coordinated parent relations; and, she became an indispensable partner for the school director. Her proficiency and outstanding command of the Armenian language made her our translator. She also had many informal responsibilities. In reality she took care of the school and everyone who entered through its gates; she provided care for those students not feeling well (she gave them tea and nazook); she tended to the faculty; she was also the “sticker lady” and as such students visited her very often; she was the loving and nurturing liaison to the young PSC moms; and, she was a sounding board for the school director.
“What other job could be more rewarding than working for young, innocent children? To watch them grow and become independent, skillful and educated adults is priceless,” she wrote in the school’s 30th anniversary booklet This sentiment is a reflection of her true character. What will be most missed about her is her kindness, her jolly smile, her happy attitude, her positive presence, and her “yes, we can” approach. She was simply one member of a larger team but certainly filled so many roles and met so many needs. Ord. Ano was the school’s most devout champion and the well-being of the students was her first priority at all times.
Referring to ourselves as the Tufenkian family has become part of our every-day vernacular. However, in the Tufenkian community, that reference has a deep meaning because it ties us all together to the common purpose of serving our children. This family includes first our students and their families, also their teachers and every benefactor that has favored our school. It also includes people like Ord. Ano who will never be forgotten and her place in the family will always feel empty.
Ord. Ano joined the loving faculty and staff at the school’s infancy. Along with our long-tenured teachers, she had been the thread of continuity in the school’s successful history. She was an integral part of a team that has nurtured and educated over 2,000 students. It isn’t surprising at all that she remembered most if not all of the past students by name and continued to hold a deep love for them.
We share a deep sadness and the emptiness with the Avanessian and our school family for having a larger-than-life member of our family gone. Ord. Ano retired after many years of service and the school administration was in the midst of planning an evening to celebrate her career. We did not fathom that we would be mourning her life rather than celebrating the immense impact she had on the entire school community.
In her biography 15 years ago she also wrote her reply to all those who continually asked “Are you still at Tufenkian?” Her reply was “Yes, I am, and I intend to be as long as I can and as long as they want me to be!” We are uncertain as to who she meant by “they” as her Tufenkian family certainly wasn’t ready to say good bye. May she rest in peace in the heavens above and may she be our guardian angel forever.
At the request of the Avanessian Family, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. Marcy’s Richard Tufenkian Preschool and Kindergarten, 1200 Carlton Drive, Glendale, California 91205.