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Elizabeth (Liz) Aprahamian of Northville, MI, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on November 14, 2023. She was born May 10, 1938 in Detroit. Liz was the devoted daughter of the late Souren and Arminuhe Aprahamian, both Armenian genocide survivors. She was the sister of the late Dr. Ashod Rhaffi Aprahamian and the late Dr. Edward Aprahamian. Cherished aunt of nephews Edward (Mary) Aprahamian, Jeff Aprahamian, and Dr. David (Dr. Heidi) Aprahamian. Proud and loving great-aunt of Allison Aprahamian and Elizabeth Aprahamian. Special sister-in-law of Cindy Aprahamian and the late Susan Aprahamian Boemer. Also survived by many cousins in Armenia and the U.S. as well as many friends.
Elizabeth was a graduate of Mackenzie High School. She graduated from Wayne State University in February 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She received her Master of Arts degree at the University of Michigan in English Literature in 1964. She did post graduate work in Administration at Eastern Michigan University. She taught English in the Detroit Public Schools (Northwestern High School and Mackenzie High School) starting in 1961. Liz was an Administrator and English Department Head at Northern High School, from which she retired in 1996 after 36 years.
During her teaching years, she spent her summers traveling the world visiting many countries including China, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Russia, and Armenia.
Liz’s early retirement years were dedicated to lovingly caring for her parents, Souren and Arminuhe Aprahamian who were genocide survivors. She honored their lives by authoring, along with her father, several books documenting her parent’s lives and paying tribute to their strength. The books are available for purchase at St. John Armenian church bookstore.
The Armenian community was extremely important to Liz. She was a member of the ACYOA Juniors and Seniors at which time she joined the church. She was a lifelong member of St John Armenian Church where she served the church in many capacities, including, as a member of Parish Council, Sunday School Teacher, the Manoogian School Board, nominating committee, Fine Arts committee, Diocesan delegate, and as a docent for the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum.
Liz was proud of her Armenian heritage and a passionate advocate in supporting Armenian causes. She was a generous donor to many charities both to benefit the church and people in Armenia, as well as numerous philanthropic causes. Liz took her first trip to Armenia with her mother in 1964 followed by many additional trips with family and friends. In 1989, she took a mission trip with the St John Parish Council to provide aid and support after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. In 2000, Liz and a group from St. John Armenian Church went to Armenia to celebrate the ordination and consecration of Very Rev. Father Paren Avedikian to Bishop. Liz and other family members accompanied Souren to Armenia in 2006 to honor and celebrate his 100th birthday. Her most recent trip was with friends in 2013 with the hopes of returning one more time in the future with nieces Allison and Elizabeth.
Liz had a wide circle of friends whom she met during her teaching career, Bible study, and her exercise center. Her most treasured friends were part of the Armenian Community which became an extension of her family.
Although her immediate family was small, Liz's favorite times involved spending time with family in Wisconsin and Florida. She also enjoyed family vacations to Washington DC, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In 2017, she fell in love with the magic of Disney World and, at the age of 80, made her first of many visits. Liz was eager to stay in the park till closing, 2am. She outlasted younger members of the family.
Liz loved animals, especially dogs. Her favorites were her niece and nephew’s dogs. Her happy place was sitting and cuddling with as many dogs as she could fit on her lap.
Liz was an avid reader. She also enjoyed and supported many cultural venues and activities in the Detroit area such as the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, Detroit Institute of Art, and Detroit Zoo.
Liz was an incredibly strong Armenian woman who’s faith and love of her family helped her overcome many serious health problems including a full recovery from open heart surgery in the Fall of 2022. During the last six months of her life, she was back to enjoying her normal, active lifestyle when God unexpectedly called her home. Her love will live on in our hearts. Her legacy will continue to be preserved in the lives she touched.
While putting together this tribute, the family found an autobiography composed by Liz in 2016. The first line from her brief autobiography is as follows. “Keep my eulogy short. People have things to do and don’t need long speeches on any topic. Let alone me.”
In discussing her life at St. John Armenian Church, Liz wrote… “I was fortunate to have several wonderful priests in my life. Archbishop Paren Avedikian, Rev. Father Diran Papazian, Rev. Father Garabed Kochakian, and Very Rev. Father Aren Jebejian.”
I hope Liz will forgive us for sharing a little more of her life with you. We wrote more than maybe she would have liked, but we would like to continue to share the end of her brief eulogy in her own words.
“I am the proud daughter of Souren and Arminuhe. Their survival, their history, made them gentle souls. And, like so many survivors, they were devoted to their family and to their Armenian roots. And I was so fortunate to be surrounded by their love and the St. John Armenian community.
I have been blessed with a wonderful family. I had two loving brothers, Rhaffi and Ed. I had two I had two wonderful sisters-in-law who became my sisters, Sue Aprahamian Boemer and Cindy Slawnik Aprahamian. I have my brother’s three sons, Eddie, Jeff, and David, who kept me busy being Aunt Liz, and two amazing great-nieces, Allison and Elizabeth. Wow, was I lucky! I also had three nieces, Tammie, Heidi, and Mary. Each one, special in her own way.
Well folks, that’s the scoop. No reason to be sad. I had Ma and Hairek for a long time. How fortunate I was and am. Wished Rhaffi could have hung around longer. I enjoyed my teaching years but not so much as an administrator. I guess I had a guardian angel that got me through DPS. I’ve enjoyed traveling, certainly did go to Armenia a lot - but what an experience meeting with the relatives in Armenia. I enjoyed my mother’s extended family in Niagara Falls. I I have had good friends.
How lucky I was! Liz”
Funeral service on Monday, November 20th at Saint John Armenian Church, 22001 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, Michigan. In state at 10:30 with funeral service at 12:00. Internment at Woodlawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Elizabeth Aprahamian Memorial Fund at Saint John Armenian Church.