(Recipes and photos courtesy Nancy Egoian Mugrdechian and Arnell Avedisian Work)
FRESNO — Elmass Edith Avedisian was born in Fresno on November 27, 1928 to Harold and Araxie Aloojian, and passed away on November 29, 2019 at the age of 91. She was preceded in death by her Armenian immigrant parents, her devoted husband of 61 years, Arthur Ardash “Ace” Avedisian, and her three loving sisters Annette Egoian, Louise Avakian and Harriett Aloojian.
During her childhood, Elmass’ family lived on a small farm on Locan Avenue in Sanger where they specialized in dried and candied fruit. Elmass and her sisters would spend many hours helping pick the various crops which included grapes, apricots, peaches and boysenberries. They worked in the cannery cutting and arranging fruit on drying trays with their parents, and canning fruits and vegetables for the winter months.
Elmass attended elementary school in Sanger and Sanger High School. As she grew up, her interests included bowling with her friends and attending musical events and dances at Fresno’s historic Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church. Elmass enjoyed singing in the church choir on Sundays, and had special family memories of playing music, dancing, and singing with her multi-talented sisters through the years.
One summer day, Elmass and her sisters decided to go swimming at Fresno’s Weymouth Swimming Pool that had opened in 1934 on West Whitesbridge Road. While at the pool, a friend named Ron Bakarian introduced Elmass to the love of her life, Art Avedisian. The couple were married in Fresno on July 29, 1950.
If you visited the Avedisian house you would automatically be treated like family, and were invited to enjoy whatever delicious meal or dessert Elmass had prepared that day, her children remember. One of Elmass’ specialties was her famous Elmo Burgers. She excelled at canning large batches of vegetables and Armenian cucumbers (gootah) in the summer, and make homemade yalanchi grape leaves and dolma for endless family meals and celebrations. When Art retired in 1979, the couple were both the happiest when their backyard was filled with family and friends enjoying their popular family barbeque meals.