Life Story / Obituary
David Azarian fell asleep in the arms of his Savior Jesus Christ, His Father, and under the Light of The Holy Spirit, his great love, lifelong partner and devoted wife, Mary Kaprelian, by his side. David was born to Arshog and Lucene (nee Kasapian) Azarian on September 8, 1943, the eldest of three children. He was raised in the Armenian Church community, graduated from Horlick High School in 1961 where, as a running back for junior and senior Rebel football teams under the tutelage of Coach Jerry Fishbain, he broke many state records. He was offered a four year athletic scholarship to Dartmouth College, but chose to attend UW-Oshkosh where he earned his BS- Business Major Degree in 1966.
David traveled exploring Florida, New York State and California with close childhood friend George Solakian prior to working in the family business, Azarian Wrecking as an accountant and with his Uncle Sam and cousins Harry, Sam Jr., Richard, Tony and Steve. During the BiCentennial of America celebrations he met the love of his life, Mary, and they began a long dedicated career in Downtown Racine, renovating several historic buildings designed by their friend and mentor, Robert Hartmann. He and Mary opened the Main Street General Store in 1976, purchasing the Coffee and Tea assets of fellow entrepreneur Mark Boatwright’s Port Guilbert shop in 1980. David remained an active participant in the innovative Olde Main Street Historic District until 2018, after selling the property and building contents to a California based developer.
David was a talented, untrained carpenter who turned out exquisite, detailed, in-demand wooden furniture as large as Welsh Cupboards and Breakfronts, to small seasonal, salable merchandise (planters, trees, sleighs, coffee bins, stools, tables and accessories), including many of the display pieces in his shop.
He served on the board of directors of the Downtown Racine Corporation, Racine County Board of Ethics, Sesquicentennial Committee of Wisconsin’s statehood in 1986, and chaired numerous Oktoberfest Committees, while negotiating the planting of trees on Main Street; introducing the Chair-i-ties youth art project; overseeing the Holiday Walk and Decorated Displays of second floor apartments; and invented the Downtown Christmas Parade, first presented in the 1980’s, persuading Milwaukee Channel 6 host Tom Hooper to act as Parade Marshall. In 1986, he was credited with saving the southwestern set of Victorian Eclectic buildings in the 200 block of Main Street by refusing to take part in the grand scale private purchase of whole buildings to be razed to put up a parking lot, concealed by the remaining facades, a design scheme he called “unfaithful to the dedication of historic preservation.” In 1988 his life was spared as he was performing interior work on 232 Main Street, when a contractor neglected to follow orders to shore up the exterior of the 200 ft. long property. The rear portion collapsed, reducing the previously designed two apartment historic building to a 65 ft. long street facing apartment. A lawsuit ensued and the remaining apartment was redeveloped to accommodate the loss an became his and Mary’s 20 year home in Downtown Racine.
He aided in providing research, historical data and background information to the City of Racine’s Landmark Preservation Commission in forming the Olde Main Street Historical District which was added to the National and State Register of Historical Places. David utilized his business acumen when he joined the HR Block team of tax preparers and worked his way up to become Southeastern Wisconsin’s largest producer of returns for over 21 years of service, prompting supervisors to offer him a District Manager position.
David and Mary enjoyed retirement years traveling to Argentina, Montevideo, England, Spain, France and Italy. During their landmark trip to Armenia in 2019, they toured the capital city of Yerevan and the heritage villages of their ancestors. They traversed the blood-soaked lands of the Death Marches of thousands of massacred Armenian Christians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire Turkish government, experiences they would share in sorrow for the remainder of their time together. But they always returned to their adopted home of Door County where for over 40 years they savored the peace and tranquility of gourmet dining, antiquing, musical and stage productions, Sunset Beach colors, early morning walks through Peninsula State Park, handholding…renewing their love for each other.
David was preceded in passing by his parents; only brother, best friend Nazar “Ned” Azarian; lovable Uncle Sam Azarian; treasured Aunts Helen (Kasapian) Emerzian; Mary (Kasapian) Kalashian: Betty (Azarian) James; Betsey (Azarian) Anderson; Sophie (Azarian) Stapianian; Julie (Azarian) Cash; Lois (Azarian) Kelly; musical Uncle Jerry (Helen) Emerzian; Cousins Harry, Tony and Steve Azarian; Lynn (Kalashian) Jurglanis; Eddie Kalashian. He is survived by his adoring wife, Mary Kaprelian; beloved only sister Carol (Don) Miller; sister-in-law Carolyn (Ned) Azarian; Niece Andrea Marie Azarian; Nephew Nicholas Michael (Maria) Azarian; Great Nephew Andranik, Great Nieces Alina and Annalise Azarian, Cousin Linda Zientek, and numerous nieces and nephews. David was especially grateful for his caregivers at Aurora South, Ascension Franklin, and Ascension All Saints Racine who sustained his life with skilled medical acuity.
A Burial Service According to the Armenian Rite took place privately, officiated by Reverend Father Avedis Kalayjian of St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church, and Arch Reverend Father Yeprem Kelegian. In lieu of memorials David had asked that family and friends donate groceries, multi-and sustainable personal and lifestyle care items to their favorite charity, food bank or empty pantries.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Timothy II, Chapter 4, Verse 7