John Santerian passed away on March 5, 2021, one day shy of his 98th birthday. He was surrounded by family and his caregivers at The Hearth at Drexel, who had come to cherish him for the kind and caring man he was. John was the devoted father of Lisa (Rick), John S. (Lori) and Sheryl (Kimon), and the adored grandfather of Christina, Amy, Kara, Kyle, Evan, Mark, Alexander, Nikki and Ani. He was predeceased by his dear wife of over 62 years, Seerarpey (nee Dermksian).
Born and raised in Philadelphia, John was the son of Serop (Samuel) and Zahig (Minnie) (nee Zoolalian) Santerian, Armenian immigrants from Malatya, Turkey. He grew up as an active member of the large and close-knit Armenian community, and he was always proud of his Armenian heritage.
John enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943. He served in the Pacific during WWII and was the recipient of several military honors. After the war, John returned home to Philadelphia where he spent most of his career with the Department of Defense, first at the Frankford Arsenal until its closure in 1977, and then at the Defense Industrial Supply Center.
John was a Philadelphia sports fan through and through, with a special place in his heart for the Phillies. He loved talking baseball and enjoyed the friendly rivalries with friends and family who were Boston and NY fans.
Even greater than John’s love of sports was his love of music. He enjoyed listening to big bands, the crooners of the 40s and 50s and R&B. He grew with the music as it evolved through the century, and music kept him young at heart and always put a smile on his face.
In addition to his love of sports and music, John was a lifelong reader. He kept abreast of what was happening around the world as well as in the neighborhood, and he was always interested in hearing what others had to say.
In the last five years of his life, after having lost his wife, John moved to assisted living where he developed friendships with his caregivers and other residents and showed them the kindness, caring and respect that he was always known for. In the last year of his life, those caregivers became his surrogate family and they were his lifeline when the pandemic made it virtually impossible for his children, grandchildren and cousins to visit him.
John was sincere and unpretentious and thrived on his connections with others. He understood the value of relationships, and he always made new friends wherever he went.
He will be remembered warmly for his contagious smile, his sparkling eyes, his gentle heart and his love for family and friends. And he truly will be missed.
Until we are able to meet again, everyone who knew John is asked to celebrate his life in their own way, perhaps by raising a glass and dancing to your favorite music.
Contributions in lieu of flowers in John’s memory may be made to St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Philadelphia https://www.saintgregory-philly.org/ and The Armenia Fund https://www.armeniafund.org/