Harry Alatchanian, son of the late Garbis and Matilda Alatchanian, was born on October 2, 1933, in Highland Park, Detroit. He passed peacefully into the embrace of the Lord at his home on Sunday, November 20th, 2022.
Harry’s family immigrated to the United States in the 1920s following their survival and flight from the Armenian genocide. His parents established themselves in Detroit and worked assiduously to give their children a better life. He grew up happily playing baseball and going to school with his childhood - and lifelong- Armenian buddies. Harry was a mischievous child and the apple of his grandmother’s eye. Following his service in the US Army, Harry applied his indefatigable work ethic and business savvy as a salesperson. After his marriage to Patricia in 1963, Harry’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to invest all of his savings to start his own retail appliance store. He asked his cousin to join him and together, they created a company known as ABC Warehouse.
Over the years, Harry tenaciously ran a successful business employing dozens of employees and established two locations in Rochester and Utica that operated until 2003 when he retired. Through his business, Harry traveled the world, soaking it all up, and enjoying numerous unforgettable experiences abroad with his loved ones. As a family member, employer, and friend, Harry was endlessly generous. When those around him encountered trouble, he was the first to offer and provide assistance. For his children and countless others, his “reassuring voice” would encourage and inspire, as well as intimidate - if you didn’t know him well! The phrase, “his bark is worse than his bite,” could have been designed with him in mind; while he could bluster and bluff like the best of them, he was a tender-hearted man to those who knew him intimately. Harry was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, affectionately referred to as "The Baba Man." He had a penchant for standards and loved singing along to Frank Sinatra and Abba, amongst others, with his grandchildren in the car. Harry was an exceptionally nimble dancer with legendary moves. He was a fabulous dresser with impeccable style, who never walked out of a clothing store empty-handed and whose frequent remark, “sharp!” signaled approval.
When Harry was in his 60s, he suffered two consecutive heart attacks. Rather than face invasive surgery, he defiantly decided to do things his way and began walking 5 miles a day, eating vegan, and generally wreaking havoc on every restaurant waiter in sight to maintain a strict, healthy diet. With these changes, he extended his life by more than twenty years, creating many memories and celebrating major milestones such as his children’s marriages, his grandchildrens’ high school and college graduations, weddings, and more.
Perhaps it was being the son of genocide survivors, or perhaps it was surviving two heart attacks, but Harry possessed a singular clarity about the preciousness of life and enjoying every moment it had to offer. In his spare time, Harry was an avid attendee of the race track and one of the best handicappers in Michigan, a loyal casino client, and an enthusiastic sports fan and golfer. Every winter, he enjoyed spending time in St. Pete Beach, Florida and maintained his habit of meditative morning walks. Harry’s sense of humor was unshakeable, infectious, and only a little inappropriate. He loved to tease and tell jokes, drawing in his audience with the true spirit of a showman.
His iconic laugh and larger-than-life persona will be missed, and his generous spirit will live on as his legacy through his children and grandchildren. His family comforts in knowing he is now reunited with his daughter, parents, and grandparents.
Harry Alatchanian is survived by his wife, Patricia; his son, Gary Alatchanian and his wife Jieyu and her children Kimmily and Forest; his three grandchildren Nicholas and Bethanie Mangigian; Grace Simon and her husband Matthew; his sister, Alice Sarkisian and the families of her sons Danny and George. He is predeceased by his daughter, Lisa Marie Bartley.
In lieu of flowers, Harry’s family invites donations to CASP, the Children of Armenia Sponsorship Program: https://www.farusa.org/casp.
Harry’s visitation will be held at 10am Saturday, November 26th, with funeral services to follow at 11am, at St. John Armenian Church, 22001 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, MI 48075.
Please make all deliveries directly to the church by Saturday before 11AM
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