Dr. Sarkis Karayan

Dr. Sarkis Karayan Passed Away


PORTER RANCH, Calif. – Sarkis Yacoub Karayan, 89, born on November 28, 1928 in Aleppo, Syria passed away on December 9, 2017. He resided in Porter Ranch, California at the time of his passing.

Dr. Karayan was the son of Yacoub and Zarouhi Ustakarayan. He graduated Aleppo College in 1946 and went next to Beirut’s American University for his bachelor’s degree. In 1952 he received his medical degree of doctor. He specialized in pediatrics, and worked with the Swiss Dr. Hans Ulrich Zellweger for three years until he became director of the university hospital’s Maternal and Child Health Care Center. Two years later he was invited to be the university health physician for the infirmary.

He continued in that position until leaving for the United States in 1979, where he received a fellowship in New York Medical College in the field of developmental disabilities and then went to the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Amherst as clinical faculty.

He moved with his family one year later to California, and became the staff physician at the Camarillo State Hospital. Soon he advanced to become chief of services in the Developmental Disabilities Center of the same hospital.

Dr. Karayan was always involved in Armenian community affairs. While still in Beirut, he was one of the founders of the Armenian Medical Association, which published the monthly Pzhishg [Doctor]. He wrote articles on pediatric topics there. He also was a founding member and vice president of the Armenian Art Lovers Cultural Association of Lebanon, and the Cultural Association of Aintabtsis.

A medical doctor by day, in his spare time, Sarkis used his fluency in Ottoman Turkish, Modern Turkish, Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, Classical Armenian, French and German to compile a comprehensive list of 4,600 towns and villages that were home to Armenians in pre-genocide Turkey. The result of his labor was a four-volume tome called “The Extermination of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.” In 2016, his wife, Silva Karayan, donated a copy of his work to the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation

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Dr. Karayan was a frequent contributor to the Armenian press, focusing on historical and demographic issues of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, especially after retiring in 2003. He wrote in the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, Nor Geank, Nor Or, Asbarez and Massis.

Dr. Karayan leaves behind his wife Dr. Silva Karayan, his children Dr. and Mrs. Khatchik and Zella Ingrid Karakozian and grandchildren Tamar and Patil, as well as three sisters and their families.

Arrangements were under the direction of Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, California for the December 14 interment. Three priests participated in the services, Fr. Shnork Demirjian of St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church, Fr. Haroutioun Tachejian of St. James Armenian Apostolic Church of Los Angeles, and Fr. Avedis Apovian of the Crescenta Valley Holy Apostles Church.

Aside from family members, Carla Garapedian of the Armenian Film Foundation and Sinan Sinanian, vice president of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), spoke, with the latter reading the letter of AGBU president Berge Setrakian. More speeches were given later at the Phoenicia Restaurant, including by bereaved widow Dr. Silva Karayan, Prof. Osheen Keshishian, and Taguhi Arzoumanian of the Lark Conservatory.

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