Edgar Hagopian, Community Icon, Passes Away By: Betty Apigian-Kessel Apr 17 2011
DETROIT, Mich.—It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Edgar Hagopian, a successful businessman, philanthropist, and activist for Armenian causes, who passed away on March 27 after a valiant battle with cancer. He was 80 years old.
Edgar is survived by his wife of 54 years Sarah, son Edmond, daughters Suzanne and Angela, and son-in-law Ken Snow, all involved in the family business of Hagopian World of Rugs and Cleaning Services. He is also survived by grandsons Alexander, Adam, and Nicholas.
Edgar was a proud graduate of Detroit’s famed Cass Technical High School, geared toward students with exceptional ability. He majored in chemistry at the University of Michigan and served during the Korean War.
He followed in the foosteps of his scientist father, who was born in Bursa and later moved to Constantinople with wife Cariana and worked as a pharmacist. In order to escape conscription into the army, the Hagopians transitioned to Detroit, gaining employment at the Ford Motor Co. He, too, was an entrepreneur inventing perfume formulas and beauty items for women in his basement laboratory. He developed a chemical for carpet cleaning, which eventually through the years evolved into Hagopian Cleaning Services and Carpet Company.
Edgar had begun working in his father’s laboratory as a young man, and after his schooling entered the family business where growth and success was phenomenal. Edgar became a community leader and philanthropist, active in Armenian affairs and American politics. He was respected by all who knew him.
Dan Gark, prayers for the dead, were recited on Thursday evening, March 31, where mourners could pay their respect. Hundred filled St. John’s Armenian Church in Southfield for his funeral on Fri., April 1, officiated by Rev. Archpriest Garabed Kochakian.
Father Garabed stated, “It’s all about love, that’s what today is all about. Love has faith in all things, love never ends. He ran his race, suffered his illness, and takes his place with the righteous ones. It was not about Edgar, it was about you. He touched us all with his drive and integrity. Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Father Garabed said that in his final discussions with Edgar, he told him, “I believe.”
In addition to Rev. Fr. Kochakian, other clergymen participating were Monsignor Andon Atamian of St. Vartan’s Armenian Catholic Church, Livonia; Rev. Fr. Abraham Ohanesian of St. John’s Armenian Apostolic Church; Rev. Fr. Daron Stepanian of St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church in Dearborn; Badveli Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian (retired) of the Armenian Congregational Church in Southfield; Pastor Makarios Darawi of the Armenian Congregational Church in Southfield; and Rev. Joseph Summers, Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, Ann Arbor.
Edgar helped many politicians in their quest for seats in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, knowing well the importance of establishing clout for the Armenian Genocide Resolution and other important matters concerning his beloved Armenian people. His financial backing included many meet-and-greets, where the public could get to know the candidates.
The immense ballroom of St. John’s beautiful Cultural Hall was the setting for the 400 mourners who came to pay their final respects to the man the Tekeyans had just weeks earlier feted in the same room as Man of the Year.
A military guard performed honors for the former Korean War veteran and presented the American flag to his widow, Sarah. Hagopian’s fellow Knights from the Knights of Vartan Nareg-Shavarshan Lodge paid honor to their fellow Asbed.
Many government officials or their representatives and others spoke words of praise and thanks to Edgar Hagopian, including Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence; Lawrence O’Brady for Rep. Thaddeus McCotter; Greg Jamian, vice-chairman for Oakland County Road Commission; State Rep. Marty Knollenberg; Irina Lazarian, the executive director of Armenia Fund USA, read by Corinne Khederian; and Christine Nazarian.
Other included Bob Kachadourian of behalf of Barrones Caroline Cox; Paul Kulhanjian for the Festival Committee and the Facing History workshop; Ned Apigian for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Eastern Region Central Committee; Antranig Karadolian for the Detroit ARF “Azadmard” Gomideh; and Edmond Azadian of the Tekeyans and the Armenian Democratic League.
Musical selections were performed by Debra and Andrea Faroyan. Edgar’s son Edmond paid a final tribute to his dad, saying, “I almost don’t want it to end,” realizing the finality of the day. “I asked dad if he was afraid to die and he said, ‘No. Take care of mom.’ Of course.”
“My father craved the company of his friends and family. The bond between them was extraordinary. Death was the only thing that stopped him. He would ask and expect us all to fill the hole left by him,” Edmond said.
Sarah Hagopian showed a video from Edgar’s 2009 tribute dinner, which was attended by hundreds of community members.
Funeral arrangements were most ably accomplished through the efforts of Simon Javizian Funeral Directors. It was a memorable send off to a fellow Hye. Final resting place is White Chapel Cemetery. Memorial donations can be given to the Hagopian Family Foundation.