On August 18, 2023, Ralph Najarian, on his 81st trip around the sun, passed away after a long illness.
Ralph was born in Providence, Rhode Island on January 5, 1943, to Ralph C. and Beatrice (Nahabedian) Najarian. He lived as a child in Detroit, Michigan; Wilmette, Illinois; Bloomfield and Montclair, New Jersey; and Fresno, California where he achieved the level of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and graduated from Bullard High School in 1961. In 1963, in Sacramento, he met and married Marguerite Kreiss. They moved to Albuquerque, and then in 1974, to Pueblitos, NM, just South of Belen, where they raised their children. In 1989 to fulfill a lifelong dream to provide more efficiently for the cure of childhood diseases, Ralph moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where he completed a Microbiology degree at Kansas State University and worked another 20 years beginning as a lab assistant studying childhood intestinal diseases, then, until retirement, as the lab manager of the microbiology lab where he taught the students that were going to directly work in research and medical fields. In 2011, he retired to Hastings, NE to live inexpensively so he could continue to donate to his charities.
He worked as a fry cook, mechanic/millwright, beer truck driver, welder, and biologist, to name a few. He was a member of the American Association of Woodturners, Bird City Antique Engine and Thrasher's Association, several tool collector and wood carving organizations, and had been a member of Saint Cecilia's Catholic Church in Hastings. He could fix anything and embodied the ideals of reuse-reduce-recycle and add refuse and repurpose. His approach to life brought a garden full of flowers that he gave away to all who passed by his home, a garage full of wood to turn, carve, and build with, a house full of books to learn from, and a wish that all children lived a happy and healthy life. Ralph traveled the world, flying his kite with Brother Wind in all seven continents and 20 different countries, from the Grand Canyon to Peru, from Moscow to the Great Wall of China. Recently he had a bench put in place along the path on Eastside Blvd. and 4th Street for people to view the Hastings Community Mural and contemplate his request, “As you journey through life, pass by gently.” Visit his Facebook page to see the photos of his woodworking, travels, and flowers.
Ralph was preceded in death by his brother, Charles R. Najarian (2003) and nephew, Todd Najarian (2017). He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Richard C. and Karen Najarian; ex-wife, Marguerite; daughter and son-in-law, Polly Ann Najarian and Sergei Javadoff; daughter, Corey Rice; grandchildren, Audrey, Nicholas, and Victor Javadoff and Rhetta and Willon Rice; niece and nephew, Lisa and Mark Najarian; cousins, John Nahabedian, Jr., Lisa Dildilian, Christine Novak, Karen Rogers, and Cynthia Najarian Pfaff and their families.
As you reflect on your life's intersection with Ralph's, please consider donating to one of his favorite charities: St. Jude's Hospital, UNICEF, UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders, Catholic Relief Services, Smile Train, San Pedro Orphanage in Cusco, Peru; Red Cloud School and the Tanka Fund, both in South Dakota; Nebraska Public Media, Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, and Crossroads Homeless Shelter and Thrift Store in Hastings.
Ralph Najarian: father, grandfather, brother, cousin, uncle, najar/woodworker, photographer, tool collector, steam engine owner, camper, hiker, gunsmith, vegetable gardener, flower lover, beekeeper, hugger, philanthropist, microbiologist, teacher, mentor, master mechanic, eccentric, unique man.
Private family service will be held at a later date.