Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Akabe Kerope Gulbankian

Akabe Kerope Gulbankian, age 93, passed away Tuesday evening, January 27, 2009. Akabe was born in the city of Tallas, a college community and suburb of Kaiseri (Caesaria) in central Asia Minor. Born in the Christian family of the late Kerope and Nouri (nee Vezirian) Gulbankian, Akabe is the last surviving member of all the nine siblings.

As an infant she escaped with her mother and older sisters from the 1915 Genocide of Armenians, during the First World War. They were taken in for six years by an Arab Bedouin Sheik, a friend of the family, in Aleppo, Syria. They briefly went to Damascus, Syria, whereupon the brothers in America arranged to bring the family to the U.S.

She graduated from William Horlick High School and also from Union Grove Normal Teachers College. She briefly taught grammar school in Racine. After this she was a realtor with Racine Realty and had also worked as a paralegal with her brother, George, and sister, Vartak, lawyers of the Gulbankian Law Firm in Racine.

As an Armenian immigrant she had an intense desire to help others. For instance, she taught and helped many immigrant women to pass their citizenship exams. She and her family donated to the Audubon Society, the Love and Charity Mission, ACLU and many other charities. Akabe also donated generously to the building up of Armenia, and most recently to the Armenian village of Nor Gesaria. Akabe cared deeply about the underprivileged and was politically active in Racine.

She always had a smile on her face and had a general love for all those who knew her. She will be dearly missed. She is survived by her niece, Virginia McCuin of New York, NY, and by her many cousins: Calouste Gulbenkian of Lisbon, Portugal, David VartBadrigian of Nashville, TN, John Chalikian of Michigan City, IN, Mary Haroutunian of New York City, NY, Teresa Chalikian of Schaumberg, IL, Lucy Torosian of Watertown, MA, Avedis Hintlian of DeKalb, IL, Josephine Bargamian of Tucsonm AZ, Emma Kazaraian of FL, Dr. Hovsep Dermajian of Gurney, IL and many other cousins in Europe and the Near East.

Funeral Services will be held, Friday, January 30, 2009, at 10 a.m. at St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church, 4605 Erie St., with Rev. Fr. Yeprem Kelegian officiating. Interment will follow at West Lawn Memorial Park, Highway 20, Racine. Relatives and friends may meet at the Church from 9 – 10 a.m. Memorials to St. Mesrob Armenian Church of Racine would be deeply appreciated.

803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888

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