Kourken Stamboulian was born in Larnaka, Cyprus, in 1922, to Nevrik and Hagop Stamboulian. The third of five children, he moved to Beirut, Lebanon, when he was two. A hard worker and dedicated student, he grew up and finished high school in Lebanon. Right after graduating, he helped support his family and was the real man of the house.
In 1947, Kourken and his two brothers, along with their parents, immigrated to Armenia. Once there, he began working as a machinist and displayed his superior architectural skills by building a house. In 1949, a year that would forever change Kourken and show why he was a true survivor, he and his family were exiled to Siberia as a result of the strict and brutal communist regime.
Respected by all in Siberia for his determination, he spit in the face of adversity by surviving seven years of the harshest conditions possible. Out of all the cold snow Kourken was trapped in while in Siberia, there were two very bright rays of sunshine for him. It was there that he met the love of his life, and eventual wife of 49 years, Keghouhi Nalbandian. They created two beautiful daughters, Aida and Sonia. After seven brutal years, Kourken and his family were politically freed, and allowed to return to Armenia.
After 14 years in Armenia, Kourken sought a better life for his wife and two daughters. In 1970, with only one hundred dollars to his name, he migrated to America. Showing what a dedicated person he was, he worked as hard as he could, and brought his family and his wife’s entire family to America also. Without Kourken’s efforts and concern for others, the Stamboulians and Nalbandians wouldn’t have had the chance to live the American Dream.
Honesty was another trait that personified Kourken. He refused to accept welfare checks from the government, and instead earned an honest living by working several low-paying jobs, shifting from job to job, eventually crossing paths with his true profession: that of machinist. Showing his desire to excel and the admiration he constantly drew from others, he became the respected Foreman of his division. Despite working a very full schedule, he amazingly found time to learn English at night school, attend social events with his wife, and put his two daughters through college. Not a rich man, he spent all that he could on Sonia’s piano lessons, and Aida’s eventual graduation from U.C.L.A. He was the typical family man for Keghouhi, Aida, and Sonia.
Being the dedicated person he was, he served as the father of his three grandchildren, and was much more than a grandfather for James, Diana, and John. He was the grandest father a person could ever have. Kourken devoted his retirement to raising his second family of James, Diana, and John, with good morals and the same academic ambition which he directed toward his daughters. Without his presence as their father figure, his grandchildren would have had no direction in life, and nobody to push them to succeed. His grandchildren will never forget him, and will live on to make him proud.
Kourken can now join his two deceased brothers, Nazareth and Zaven, and rest in peace, where God will care for him, the way he did for his family. He is survived by his wife, Keghouhi; his brother, George; his sister, Armenouhi; his two daughters, Aida and Sonia, and his three grandchildren, James, Diana, and John.
Everyone who knew Kourken knew he was more than an average man. He did more in his 78 years on this Earth than what several men fail to do in their lifetimes. When you think of Kourken, you think of a fighter who did what it took to survive, but never at the cost of his heart. He was the best husband, father, brother, uncle, and grandfather that we were all privileged to have known and loved. The only thing bigger than Kourken’s smile was his heart, and that was evident with the unconditional love he provided us all with. Although he is no longer with us in body, his soul is within all our hearts. His memory shall live for many more generations.