Life Story Service
Life Story Reception
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
2:00 PM EDT
Maple Grove Cemetery
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Honorable, generous, and kind, Vahakn "Moe" Knarian lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. A constant giver of his time, Moe always said "yes" to helping others. Moe was extremely likable, and he possessed a remarkable memory and a gift for storytelling, often remembering incredibly detailed accounts of events from years ago. He painted with words in such a way that anyone listening to his tales could easily picture what he was talking about. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Moe will long be remembered and so very missed.
The early 1920s were marked by tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts. With the inventions of the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, drive-in restaurants, and Band-Aids, the post-war era marked significant advancement, and morale flourished throughout the land. More than a million women worked in white-collar jobs while the automobile industry nearly doubled. In Chicago, Illinois, this vibrant decade grew even brighter for Parsek and Zvart (Andonian) Knarian as they welcomed their son, Vahakn, on September 27, 1927. He later became known as Moe.
Growing up in Chicago, Moe was raised as the oldest of five children, as his older brother died at the age of one. Moe's father owned a mercantile store. Once Moe learned English at school, he brought it home and taught his siblings.
As a kid, Moe was quite enterprising, collecting lost golf balls with his friends and selling them back to the golfers, sometimes earning enough money to take his brothers to the movies. His childhood wasn’t without shenanigans though. When he was just 11 years old, Moe took his dad's car for a drive. A cop pulled him over, leaving young Moe to come up with an explanation. For a time, he worked as the pinsetter at a bowling alley, sometimes earning as much money as his dad. The bowlers would roll tips down the gutter to him, and sometimes he'd set the pins in favor of the better tippers. During the Great Depression the family moved to a farm they purchased in Bloomingdale, Michigan.
At the age of 17, Moe enlisted in the Marine Corps where he soon earned the name nickname Moe. His unit was headed to Japan when the atomic bombs were delivered on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His battalion oversaw the surrender of the Japanese. During this difficult transition towards peace, Moe was placed in charge of building the Quonset huts to house POW's. Like most Marine’s there he always carried a rifle with him. However, the Japanese and Chinese troops never knew Moe’s rifle was not loaded.
After completing his service, Moe returned home and finished high school at Bloomingdale High. A sharp, smart man, mathematics came easy to Moe. With a desire to continue serving his country and use his talent, he was accepted to the Air Force Academy as a navigator for a short time. After moving back home he found a job driving a taxi bus between Kalamazoo and South Haven and attended Western Michigan University for three years, playing on their football team. After his dad died, Moe skipped his last year of college to care for his mom.
In time, Moe became a letter sorter for the United States Post Office. He was the only one who could research illegible addresses and determine where they were supposed to go. He knew many of the residents by name and didn't need to look them up. He also served as union president. With his zest for life, jovial spirit, and dedicated work ethic, he became well respected by his co-workers and neighbors in the community.
While working for the post office, Moe was blessed to meet the love of his life, Bobie. Discovering their mutual affection for one another, they began dating. Bobie was a mother of five. Moe welcomed Bobie's children into his heart and provided comfort when Bobie's young son died in 1968. Later that same year, on August 24, Moe was thrilled to marry Bobie and receive the gift of her children as his family.
After they married, Moe and Bobie were blessed to have two children together. With a strong faith, Moe cared for his family not just physically but also spiritually. He knew the bible very well and could recite chapter and verses and the location on the page to find it.
Moe had learned to build houses from a coworker at the post office. The first house he built was for him and his mom. He continued building houses for family members and donated his time to help Valley View Bible Church build up its facilities. He built his last house at age 70 years old. He loved being a jack-of-all-trades and being able to help his family and friends with repairs, large and small.
A man who was always willing to be of service, and brilliant with math, Moe taught people how to do their taxes and even tutored neighborhood kids for many years. After retiring from the post office, Moe and Bobie reconnected with a group of marines he served with in China. They came to enjoy attending the China Marines yearly reunions, reconnecting with those he served with and sharing stories. Making the trip was always a highlight of the year for them.
Without a doubt, Moe's wife was the love of his life. He enjoyed simply talking about Bobie and continuing to share her story after her death. In the absence of Moe's steadfast companionship, may we find comfort in knowing Moe and Bobie have been reunited. May we also find comfort in our many treasured memories and the honor of carrying his legacy of faith, love, and hope forward.
Vahakn "Moe" Knarian, of Kalamazoo, age 95, died on September 15, 2023. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bobie; brothers: Vahram and Vahee Knarian; sons, Larry, and Lonnie Woodward; grandsons: Brandon, and Elija; and great-grandson, Tyler. Surviving are his children: Angela (Rod) Kotarski, Andrea (Chad) Boelman, Loryce (Tony) Knight, Lynette Woodward, and LeAnne Shelton; many grandkids and great grandkids; siblings: Bergouhi McNutt and Margaret Baber; and many very close and cherished nieces and nephews.
A Life Story Service will be held Tuesday, September 19 at 11 AM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, 269-375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center, where food, drinks, and stories will be shared. Burial at Maple Grove Cemetery. Visit Moe's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories or photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries.