Cover photo for George A Kahkedjian's Obituary
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1951 George 2023

George A Kahkedjian

October 25, 1951 — February 6, 2023

A truly wonderful and remarkable man, George A. Kahkedjian, left us quite unexpectedly on February 6, 2023. He was looking forward to a strong heart, better health, and many eventful years ahead when he was suddenly called home. George was born October 25, 1951 in Aleppo, Syria to Hagop and Hripsimeh “Helen” Kahkedjian. He had two sisters, Anahis and Angel. When George was just three years old he was stricken with Spinal Meningitis which left him with a total hearing loss and inability to speak. This tragic and life-changing event hardly slowed this determined young boy. He adapted and remained happy, positive, and strong in the face of adversity. These are traits he would maintain for all of his life, and very much needed growing up in a Homeland with hardship and trials.
Due to these hardships, he worked starting at just six years old in a brass foundry, instead of feeling sorry for himself, George found his own ways of coping and continued working toward the day he could get himself and his family out of Syria and take control of his own destiny. He progressed from child laborer to a master craftsman in the medium of brass. He learned to communicate through sign language and continued his education and kept working to help support his family. His work became even more important after his father passed away when George was just 16 years old. Growing up in Syria was challenging, and dangerous at times, and while he would never forget he didn’t let it define who he was.
He helped his Mother and sister Angel prepare and immigrate to America. George stayed behind and continued to work at the brass foundry to save money for his own immigration, that came when he was just twenty years old. Arriving in New York as a very young man as well as being deaf would be daunting, but as always, George tackled the challenge with unflappable courage. He eventually made his way to Utah where he went to work. He spent the majority of his career with divisions of the Standard Plumbing Supply Company as a master machinist. He not only performed detailed and exacting machine work but was an expert mechanic on the machines and equipment that he used. No one in the company was better or more capable than George and he was beloved by his coworkers.
George very much loved his family and kept in touch as best he could with those that had immigrated to the United States, as well as his sister Anahis who stayed in Syria where she lived for the rest of her life. He had several cousins in California that he enjoyed visiting with at every opportunity he had. His sister Angel and her husband Sofio (known as John), had two children, Alex and Ann. Angel tried to be a strict mother but all that went out the window when Uncle George was around. Because Ann was the baby, she said, Uncle George would let her get away with anything. She remembers him always bringing presents and taking them out to do fun things. Alex only remembers one time trying to get away with using a curse word, and Uncle George wheeled his Camaro around and came back to give him a disapproving whack. He was always the perfect gentleman and wanted to make sure his favorite nephew followed his example.
George loved the United States and its people and was very patriotic. He loved nice cars and all the things he had never known while growing up in Syria. He truly showed a lifelong appreciation for the opportunities he had earned to be an American citizen and reminded others not to take their country and its freedoms for granted. Along with his gratitude, he always had a great empathy and concern for family and friends he had left behind.
Although he was deaf, George loved music. He could feel the beat and had great rhythm. He loved fun gatherings and especially dances. It was at a dance that he met Carol Ann Holman Cetraro. Carol had two grown children, Jamie and Kelle, and was dedicated to her career, and swears she wasn’t looking for anyone… until she met George. He was a perfect gentleman and full of fun. He got Carol to take breaks and start enjoying life more. Before long they were inseparable, enjoying each other’s company in many outings and adventures. They dated for quite a while but Carol was committed to not consider marriage until Jamie returned from her LDS mission. George marked off the days on his calendar and as her return neared he asked Carol to marry him. They were married, April 23, 1994. Carol’s family adored George. He treated Carol with such love and respect that everyone knew this was a perfect match. Carol learned a lot from George, from communication, to the stories of the very different world that he came from.
People would often not realize George was deaf when they first met him. His warm and welcoming smile, expressive face, along with his ready handshake or a hug made everyone think maybe he was simply a nice man of few words. George never expected his family and friends to learn ASL to facilitate speaking with him, instead he used his incredible and unique ability to speak through expressions and gestures with those who did not speak his language. He would often patiently open his hand and spell out words with his finger to make sure people knew what he was saying. And regularly, George could crack everyone up with his sharp sense of humor. A great joke is usually spoken in words, but it’s the delivery that makes good comedy, and George was a master of expressive delivery. His impromptu impressions were the absolute best.
George dearly loved his Mother and along with Carol’s help, they cared for her in the final years of her life. Carol’s parents loved and appreciated George very much and he helped Carol as she did her part to help them through the end of their lives. Carol has lost several dear members of her family, as well as endured more than her share of family strife. Through all of this George has been her rock, always at her side, quietly supporting her and helping her through the most difficult days of her life.
He has been a quiet leader to everyone throughout his years, and a father figure to many. When Alex and Ann lost their father, George was more than just the best Uncle ever, he became someone they could rely on to ease the loss of their father. Carol’s children Jamie and Kelle were grown when George came into their lives but so appreciated George for his care and kindness to Carol and the fine example he has been to them, always at the ready to help and support. When his cousin passed away, he was there for his daughter Seta to stand in for the father of the bride and give her away at her wedding. There are so many examples of this man’s great love for all. He lived a life of few spoken words, but through his actions and gestures he said so much we will never forget. If George loved you, you knew you were loved. He will be missed greatly until we see him again and our hearts may be unbroken.
He is survived by his “Sweetheart” Carol; Daughter, Jamie Cetraro-Machinski and her husband Charlie; Son, Kelle Cetraro; Nephew, Alexander Cross; Neice, Ann Martinez; as well as many family and friends who miss him very much already.
Services will be held Saturday, February 18, 2023 at 1pm at the LDS Chapel at 1465 West Bristol Ridge Road, West Jordan, Utah. Friends may call on Friday evening, February 17, from 6-8pm at the Chapel, and again from 11:30am to 12:30 pm prior to the service.
Friends and family can send flowers to the Memorial Murray location: 5850 S 900 E, Murray, Utah, 84121.
Service Information
Viewing February 17, 2023 at 6-8 pm
1465 W Bristol Ridge Rd, West Jordan, UT, 84088

Viewing February 18, 2023 at 11:30 am -12:30 pm
1465 W Bristol Ridge Rd, West Jordan, UT, 84088

Funeral Service
February 18, 2023 at 1:00 pm
1465 W Bristol Ridge Rd, West Jordan, UT, 84088
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