Sima Kuchukian, nicknamed Azad, peacefully passed away in her Vernon Hills, Illinois home on May 28, 2021, 5 days after her 94th birthday. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Kelly Kuchukian. Born in Providence, Rhode Island on May 23, 1927, she was the daughter of Avak and Antaram (nee Mekailian) Yayhlain.
The family moved to Pontiac, Michigan, where she married her life partner, Kelly Kuchukian on June 3, 1950. The happy couple moved to Huntington Woods in 1961, where they raised their 4 children and she volunteered at St. John Armenian Church and various other organizations, too.
You would find Sima, with an apron on, cooking wherever she was. And while she was cooking, she was singing and dancing. Her love of music was shared with Kelly, and she accompanied him to his “gigs”, but her love of music was not limited to Armenian alone. You would find Sima and Kelly dancing the Jitterbug, Cha Cha, The Stroll, Swing and Jive, whatever made her move. She would lead the dance while others joined in, or join in with her groove on. “When you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance” Lee Ann Womac.
After retirement, Sima and Kelly moved to the suburbs of Chicago in 2014, to be near three of their children. Sima was devoted to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was always there for whomever needed her, and her mere presence brought joy into the room. Passing on the Armenian culture and heritage was of utmost importance to Sima. Every opportunity that she had, she would use it to relate to something that she felt was important in the Armenian culture. Whether is was a song - Jeev-jeev Jeranig - or cooking with “Amma” making pilaf, boreg, or putting silver coins in the Easter Choreg, or teaching them Armenian dance steps…it didn't matter. She loved passing these things on. The recipients were thrilled to learn and wanted more, which always made her smile. Note these words: Bacheek, vardeek, chop chop, hokees - they replaced kisses - underwear, bath time and “my Love in all generations”.
Sima and Kelly loved to travel and they took full advantage, Due to Kelly’s work at General Motors as an Engineer, testing automobiles, they were fortunate to call themselves “snowbirds”, leaving for Arizona in the winters to their condominium, then returning to Michigan in the spring. At other times, they would travel to California to visit Kraig, Florida to visit Kari, and several cities to join Kelli at various convention sites. Most remarkably, they traveled around the world not once, but twice, going to far exotic places, taking in the culture, foods, and history that each country provided.
Simas biggest personality trait was her ability to meet people, often complete strangers, and strike up a conversation. She was a magnet to people, using her positive force to always attract others, regardless of where she was. She made friends easily, and these start-up friendships often became lifelong relationships. She exuded kindness, grace and a zest for life that stayed with her to the very end.
Going to the casino was just plain fun for Sima; and she never passed up an opportunity to go so she could play Blackjack or hit a slot machine. In fact, rather than say, “Lets go to the casino”, she would say. “Do you want to go for a hamburger?”… a joke that started in Arizona with her friends. They actually did have a burger, eventually, but it was the fun of the game that drove her there.
Sima was a winner in all aspects of her life. Just ask anyone who knew her. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on forever.
The family will receive friends on June 7, 2021, Monday from 10am until time of funeral services at 11:00am in St. John Armenian Church, 22001 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield, MI 48075. In keeping with Covid safeguards, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing will be observed in the church. As a service to those not able to attend, the funeral service will be livestreamed. Click on https://fb.me/e/2JE3826FZ
Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery, Detroit.
Children: Kelli Garvanian, Kari Kuchukian-Hierl (Mark Hierl), Kirk Kuchukian (Lucy), Kraig Kuchukian. Grandchildren: Adam Garvanian, Kiana Philip (James), Shawn Hierl (Lindsey Griffith), Kiley Hoeffner (Andrew), Ashley Popps, Jordan Kuchukian. Great-grandchildren: Amelia Garvanian, Charlotte Garvanian, Henry Philip, Riley Kuchukian. Sister: Margaret Tandourjian (the late Rostom). And many other relatives and friends.
The family suggests memorial donations be sent to St. John Armenian Church
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Please deliver any flowers directly to the church June 7 Monday before 10am
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