My aunt, Mary Kitabjian passed away peacefully on Saturday September 5th, 2020. She is survived by her niece Dianne, her nephew Glenn, her great-nephews Matthew and Sam and myself, Debra. She was the daughter of Avedis and Azniv Kitabjian, the sister of John Kitabjian and the aunt of Gregg Kitabjian, all four of whom have passed away, along with her beloved Salome.
Friends were at the core of Mary’s life. Once made, they were with her always. She is survived by many of them. Lifelong friends like Margie, Arpie, Karekin, Diana, Vicky, Alice, Aggie and many, many more. Or her newly minted friend, Frieda who brought Mary great joy in her last months.
I could share all that Mary did in her 84 years. Her time in the AYF, her move to New York in the 60s, her tremendous success in the brokerage business. But it is through her friends that Mary is best known. I’ve turned to those friends, and have asked them to share their thoughts.
Memories of my aunt go back as early as 1945 when a 10-year-old Mary stood with her family waving a small flag at the local VJ Day parade in Philadelphia. There were trips to the beaches of Asbury Park and Atlantic City where a caravan of family and friends trudged through the sand to the water’s edge carrying blankets, umbrellas and food. Lots of food. Her years in Philadelphia were rich with ruckus, impromptu gatherings surrounded by friends who knew what it meant to have a party. When she moved to New York in the 60s, she brought that generous, fun-loving spirit with her, opening her apartment to any and all. Those years were full of theater, concerts, parties and elegant dinners that people still remember.
And then there are the small things. Ordering kir at a restaurant. Listening to Charles Aznavour or Herb Albert or Frank Sinatra. Classic movies of which she never tired. Her elegance. Her beautiful hands. Her cooking. Her laugh.
As for me, I can say that my aunt was a towering influence. It was through her that I had my first exposure to New York – its vibrancy, theaters, the arts, restaurants and nightlife. She was also a fierce advocate whenever needed. I’m not alone. If anyone needed support, financial or otherwise, Aunt Mary was there.
I know that no one will forget Mary Kitabjian. People loved her. They will not forget her sense of humor, her graciousness, her distinctive outlook on life, or her generous heart.
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