World War II Army veteran, raisin grower and longtime Fresno resident Harry Topoozian died Jan. 10, just five days after his 101st birthday.
Mr. Topoozian was one of the first to be drafted into World War II and fought in notable battles like the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Normandy and on Omaha Beach. He was in the Third Army 974th Field Artillery Battalion under Gen. George S. Patton.
He received five medals for his service in April 2014. When he returned home from the war, his church, St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church in Fowler, made him a lifetime member.
Mr. Topoozian’s love for his country ran deep, even after his military service ended. In a video produced by The Bee in April 2014, Mr. Topoozian said, “if they want, I’ll go,” after receiving his medals, indicating he was ready to serve his country again.
Mr. Topoozian was born on Jan. 5, 1915 in Fresno to Mugrdich and Zartar Topoozian, the second of six children.
Growing up during the Great Depression, Mr. Topoozian had to quit school at an early age and help provide for the family by working on a farm.
In 1947, Mr. Topoozian met Mary Kazarian of San Francisco, and after six months of dating they were married. She died 40 years later. He worked as a raisin grower until the age of 93.
Although his education was limited, he often stressed the importance of receiving an education, especially to his five children.
Mr. Topoozian took this passion one step further by becoming a benefactor of the Armenian Community School of Fresno, creating the Harry and Mary Topoozian Memorial Scholarship in 1996 for Fresno State students and donating to Fresno State’s Armenian Genocide Monument.
Born: Jan. 5, 1915
Died: Jan. 10, 2016
Occupation: Raisin grower
Survivors: Sons Tom and Mark Topoozian, daughters Nancy Topoozian, Christine Sahatdjian and Karen Sahakian, brother Joe Topoozian, 14 grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews
Services: 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 at St. Paul Armenian Church, 3767 N. First St., Fresno. Burial is at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Masis Ararat Armenian Cemetery. Remembrances: Harry & Mary Topoozian Armenian Memorial Scholarship, c/o Armenian Studies Program, Fresno State, 5245 N. Backer Ave. M/S PB 4, Fresno, CA 93740 or St. Paul Armenian Church, 3767 N. First St., Fresno, CA 93726.