Dick was born in Jerusalem on September 19, 1934 to Armenian parents, Hagop and Anna Dickranian. He was the youngest in a family of seven children, including five sisters and one brother Elias Dickranian who is just three years older than him. He attended St. Tarkmanchatz School in the Armenian Convent in his elementary years and then, his father Hagop decided to have his two sons attend the French College Des Freres in Jerusalem to further their education.
Since childhood, Dick loved languages, and having grown up in Jerusalem, it was natural for him to speak many languages and he became fluent in Armenian, English, French and Arabic. In addition, as he attended an all-boys Catholic school, he participated in the boys’ choir in school and was able to chant Mass in Latin. He had fond memories of his visits to the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem as a young boy, where he visited and participated in the services together with his mother. In 1948, when Dick was only 14 years old, the first Arab/Israeli conflict and war broke out. Dick, together with his parents, his brother Elias and sister Julie (all older sister were married and had moved away from home) were caught in the cross fire and as a result had to seek refuge in an underground shelter in the Armenian Convent. As their house in the old city had suffered major damage, they were displaced from their home for over a year and lived I the shelter in the Armenian compound. Sadly, it is where Dick suffered his back injuries due to very difficult living conditions.
Dick moved to the United States in 1959 at the age of 25 and settled in Oregon with his sister’s family. His sister, Rose Marto, together with her husband and four daughters had previously immigrated to the United States in 1955. They were in fact ‘officially’ the first family to immigrate from the Middle East to the United States and when they landed in New York in 1955; Life magazine did an article about the family. Dick was forever grateful to his sister and her family for taking the lead and being pioneers to help him move to America and accomplish having a better life. He in turn, was instrumental in later years to sponsor his niece Ani and nephew Hagop to the United States to further their education. As most of you know, Ani worked with Dick for 32 years, and now operates his business.
Arriving in Portland, Dick was instantly inducted in the U.S. Army and was posted in the Finance Department at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After leaving the Army and during the ensuing years Dick became associated in travel, and as such he planned and operated numerous tours to various parts of the world.
Dick had a knack for organizing the tours and for personally escorting his groups throughout his tenure to such exotic destinations that are bound to ignite one’s imagination, from the rugged terrain of the Khyber Pass to the steppes of Central Asia and from Antarctica to Australia’s Great Outback. He has crossed the world numerous times and in the process, he has catered to three and four generations of travelers. Dick was an avid reader and a world traveler. Most importantly, his Christian faith was deeply ingrained in him and he was always prepared to enthusiastically share his passion for the Lord.
He had also ‘rekindled’ his love for his Armenian heritage here, in our small community in Portland, and was dedicated to serving and supporting St. Kevork Armenian Church and our community.
It was Dick’s wish, that if you desire, you may send remembrances to:
St. Kevork Armenian Church
9215 SE Church St.
Clackamas, OR 97015
Date: Saturday, February 17, 2018
Time: 11:30 am
Lake Grove Presbyterian Church
A memorial service will be held at 11:30 A.M. on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church, 4040 Sunset Drive, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035
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