Aida Aras, prominent Main Line seamstress, passes away at 86
Aida Aras, 86, of Wayne who emigrated from Istanbul, Turkey to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to start a new life for her family, died peacefully of natural causes in her beloved home on September 6, 2021.
Aida was born on October 7, 1934, in Istanbul, Turkey to Kevork and Satenik Seref. While growing up in Turkey, her family maintained a strong connection to their Armenian heritage and Christian identity. In 1957, Aida married an Armenian record producer, Onnik Aras, with whom she had two children, Aret and Arlene.
In 1974, Aida was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour the United States with two friends who owned a travel agency. She instantly fell in love with the culture and grandeur of the United States and knew she wanted to raise her children there. Aida saw freedom and opportunity in the United States and believed it would give her children the brightest possible future. Fiercely independent and adventurous for her time, Aida diligently followed her dream and by November of 1976 she was living with her children in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.
While the idea of living in the United States seemed straightforward, the reality was more challenging. When she first arrived, Aida could not speak English, she could not drive a car, and she did not have a job. Despite these hurdles, she managed to use basic sewing skills to obtain employment at a local clothing boutique. This small break was the beginning of a lifelong career as a seamstress during which she worked for various high-end clothing boutiques on the Main Line and Philadelphia, including Lord & Taylor and Nan Dusken.
Aida’s charm, personality, and fashion sense helped grow a consistent and loyal base of clients. She continued working from her home in Wayne until she was 85 years old when the Covid-19 pandemic began. She could often be found sewing late into the night in a room she converted into a fully operational tailor’s boutique. She greeted her clients with a warm smile and likely some tea, freshly baked goods, and her favorite Dove milk chocolates. For over 40 years, Aida made garments for special occasions – playing a vital role in her client’s lives – from christenings and weddings to everything in-between.
Aida’s talents extended to the kitchen where she made classic Armenian dishes to the delight of her children and grandchildren. She cooked with enthusiasm, often making enough to feed twice the amount her family and guests could eat. Her passion for cooking and hosting never stopped. Even in the evening before she passed, Aida baked a perfect fruit cake to enjoy with tea.
Aida was loved and cherished by her family, friends, neighbors, and clients. Her caring heart, genuine interest in others, and overall joy for life positively influenced anyone she met and made a lasting impact. She was frequently in touch with her family members, encouraging them to pursue their dreams as she had in moving to the United States. She was so proud that her grandchildren pursued higher education, graduated from college and went on to have careers in finance, law, and fashion. Aida overcame adversity, lived a meaningful and beautiful life with her family, and lived her American Dream.
Aida is survived by her son, Aret Aras and his wife Jayne Aras, her daughter Arlene Aras, her brother and author Arman Seref of Lyon, France, her grandchildren, Celine Narog and her husband Andrew Narog, Jon-Jorge Aras, Robert Derkrikorian, Sibelle Derkrikorian, and her great granddaughter Hadley Narog.
A service will be held to commemorate Aida’s life at the Armenian Orthodox Church, St. Sahag & St. Mesrop Armenian Apostolic Church located 630 Clothier Rd., Wynnewood, Pennsylvania 19096 at 11:00am on September 10, 2021. Friends are invited to call from 10am in the church.
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St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church
630 Clothier Rd., Wynnewood PA 19096