By Nancy Kalajian, JoAnn Janjigian and Lisa Stepanian Ortiz
WALTHAM, Mass. — Disabled but never limited, Haig Karakashian lived a good life, one filled with the joy of others, hope for tomorrow, and faith in God. Much of his joy came from church fellowship and the company of friends and relatives who knew him as Haigie. He took such interest in the lives of others asking, “When is our next Sunday School reunion? How’s New York, Lisa? Did you go to Times Square for New Year’s?” or commenting, “I miss my friends at the Armenian Nursing Home.”
From one encounter to the next, Haig remembered you, your family, and your hometown, was humble with an engaging manner and sense of humor. Haigie’s death on June 21, 2016 was a deep loss to the community.
Many former Sunday School students from St. James Armenian Church in Watertown shared warm memories of their classmate. “Haigie was an active member of our Sunday School and always encouraged us to have a reunion. He loved Chinese food. We took him out to lunch at a Chinese restaurant for one reunion, said Stefanie Madanian. “I remember Haigie visiting with his grandparents across the street from where I grew up on Dartmouth Street in Watertown. My mom quite often made Chinese food for Haigie and until his passing, he referred to her as Mary Hung Dung.”
Eddie Kalajian recalled Haigie’s warm personality and fantastic memory. “Whenever I saw him, he’d go through a litany of incidents that happened, people we knew. We’d always laugh about it. His enjoyment of life was deep. Long ago, we’d see him in Mamomet. Our cottage was at the Idelwild Hotel and we’d see him there. He never forgot people and enjoyed talking about them all the time.” Lena, Eddie’s wife, adds, “He had a good heart with will power. He focused on the positive.”
Fred Johnston, Haigie’s godson, recollects, “I remember sitting on the front porch of their Belmont Street home. The women were in the kitchen and the men on the porch. Haigie had this incredible memory. We’d ride the street cars together and he’d later always ask me about that.”