November 19, 1933 ~ April 12, 2020 (age 86)


Mary Josephine (Mary Jo) Agbabian, age 86, passed away on Sunday, April 12, 2020 after a brief hospitalization at McLaren-Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan. She was the first born of five children to the late George and Barbara (Pfeiffer) Wonacott of Highland Park, Michigan.Mary Jo graduated from Highland Park High School in 1952 and attended the Harper Hospital School of Nursing in Detroit; after receiving her R.N. she worked for seven years as a surgical scrub nurse in the Ear, Nose and Throat Department at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital in Highland Park. There she met her husband, Dr Vahagn Agbabian. They married in October of 1961 at the Hai Getron in Detroit and celebrated their 52nd anniversary about 6 months before her husband's passing in 2014. A devoted wife and mother, she cared for her home and family, often helping out her husband at his private medical practice. She was an avid swimmer all her life and volunteered as an aquatic aerobics instructor at the Birmingham YMCA for 25 years. Mary Jo was a member of Saint Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church (Dearborn Michigan) for the duration of her married life and a founding member of the Armenian Renaissance Association Sophia Chapter. Together with fellow ARA members she established the ARA scholarship committee. A woman not born of Armenia decent, she embraced the cultural and became integrated into the Armenian community, studying the Armenian language, learning Armenian dances and developing her ability to prepare Armenian foods. She particularly prided herself on her success in the kitchen. Mary Jo was an avid reader and writer. She developed her knowledge of, and an informed perspective on Armenian history and culture and of contemporary Armenian politics through reading of Armenian newspapers, attending lectures, viewing documentaries. She would often write articles, poems, and editorials which were submitted to and published in the Armenian Weekly, the Armenian Reporter, the Elk Rapids Town Meeting and other newspapers and periodicals. She and her late husband enjoyed traveling, visiting many of the major regions and cities of the United States, Canada, Mexico and the European continent; multiple trips to Armenia, the historical Armenian provinces in Eastern Turkey, and Nargorno-Karabagh (Artshakh). She loved spending vacations with her family and visiting her extended family in Northern Michigan, particularly the Traverse City area and the village of Elk Rapid, regularly swimming in the waters of East Grand Traverse Bay (Lake Michigan). Mary Jo Agbabian will be remembered by her loved ones as an energetic and organized, motivated and inquisitive, generous and gracious, competitive and humorous (though at times serious), intelligent and cultured woman. Her pride and joy were her grandchildren and she loved nothing more than to gather her family on holidays in her home celebrating all of God's blessings. She is predeceased six years by her husband, Dr Vahagn Agbabian D.O. She is mourned by her children: Vahan Agbabian (Julie), Vartan Aghababian, Joanne Agbabian-Black (Glenn), and Aram Agbabian; loving grandchildren: Ani Elizabeth, Alexander Vahagn, Lauren Anahid, and Alexandra Tamar; dear sister of Margaret Etienne, Barbara Presnell (Robert), Richard Wonacott (Lee), and the late Dr Robert Wonacott MD (Dorothy); loving sister-in-law of Suzanne Derbabian (Edward). She is also survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTSA Celebration of Life will be held at a future date.MEMORIAL DONATIONSIn lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be sent to St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, 19300 Ford Road; Dearborn, MI 48128

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