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Robert Vahe Sahagian

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“I'm very sorry to hear of Bob's passing, and I wish Kathy and I could be there to pay our respects. I'd tell the story about the guy who knows right...Read More »
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Robert Vahe Sahagian July 28, 1923 – August 19, 2016 At age 93, Robert Vahe passed on Friday night surrounded and comforted by his loving family. He is survived by his wife, Hourig Seda, sons Dork, Aris, and Garen, grandchildren Luke, Kate, Jamie, TJ, Taleen, Stefan, Tristan and Graham. Ever the engineer, he touched the lives of so many, fixing and teaching, planning and building. From cars and boats, to swimming pools and ski houses, he made it possible for all of us to learn, excel, and enjoy life in ways that most other people can only imagine. If it needed fixing and no one else could figure out how, our Hairig was always available to get the job done. He made the seemingly impossible become reality, and the difficult become easy. By setting a strong example of high standards, he motivated family, friends, and everyone who knew him to become more than they thought they could, and live life to the fullest, as he did for his 93 years on this earth. After graduating high school early due to his excellent academic performance at George Washington High School in 1939, he then went on to Cooper Union, from which he graduated in 1943 (with a full scholarship) from which he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. With this in hand, he excelled at all of the several jobs he held prior to starting his own business with two partners. Although the partners ran the plant (which produced plastic packaging), Bob held the unique position of being both the company's only salesman, as well as chief mechanic for the manufacturing floor. From time to time, Bob would be called to the factory floor to diagnose balky press machinery, as it was well known that he had an uncanny talent of identifying problems by just listening, then laying his hands on a misbehaving machine. He would then explain what to do, or just fix it himself on the spot. "But all you did was hit it with a hammer!" "Ah, but you have to know WHERE to hit it with the hammer." Some of us were fortunate enough to have him as a one-on-one teacher. When we encounter a mechanical or logical problem, we always ask ourselves, "How would Hairig/Vahe/Uncle Bob handle this?" He taught us all how to approach any task, beginning with researching the project components, determining the tools and parts required, and establishing the procedure to be followed. He often reminded us that the majority of any task consisted of the initial preparation and the subsequent cleanup once the task was completed – simple, but critical. These lessons clearly became part of how so many of us now view the world when things need doing, or when something goes wrong, or breaks. He led by example, and he had little patience for those who did not live by his high standards with respect to self-reliance and personal initiative. Some of his most notable life-projects included introducing a multitude of friends and relatives to open water boating, swimming and fishing, and to winter sports, as he led the family into establishing the Vermont Ski House, which were formative experiences for so, so many of us. Through these adventures, he demonstrated that, sure, you work hard and get the job done, but that this work ethic must be balanced in life with fun – work first, then fun - lots of fun. In this regard, he demonstrated to us that if you apply yourself to life's pursuits through personal initiative, it leads to an improved quality of life. Simply put, Robert Vahe was an exceptional individual, who helped, taught and enriched the lives of so many of us. He will be missed by all, and remembered in our hearts, minds, and hands. Memorial service to be held Monday, August 22, 5-7 PM at Basralian Funeral Home, 559 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, NJ 201 261-0222. In Lieu of Flowers, any donations can be made to St. Illuminator's Armenian Cathedral, East 27th St. NY, NY.

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