Charles "Garabed" Kachadoorian

March 14, 1931February 19, 2019

Charles Kachadoorian – Passed from this life to the next on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 after a brief battle with cancer. Charles swam in the Senior Olympics on September 28, 2018 winning five golds and beating his time in the 50 meter fly from the previous year. The diagnosis on October 4 of metastaic colon cancer shocked us all, mostly Charles. Charles is survived by his four children and twelve grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Rosemarie, parents George and Rose Kachadoorian of Armenia, and his sisters Sara Sass and Mary Engoian and brother George Kachadoorian.

Charles was the adored father of Sara, Eric, Rita and Robert; the admired father-in-law of Bill Cumbelich, Stefania Kachadoorian, Fred Fitch Walmer and Maria Kachadoorian. He was the cherished Opa of Joseph, Anna, Isabel and John Cumbelich, Caterina, Silvia, Fausto and Marco Kachadoorian, Carlie and Conrad Bell, and Amanda and Marissa Kachadoorian. He was loved by many nieces, nephews, cousins and relatives in California, Michigan, Armenia, France and Germany by whom he will be greatly missed.

The touchstones in Charles’ life were his beloved wife Rosemarie, his family, his Armenian roots, twenty-six years of military service as an airtraffic controller and athletics: not only competitive swimming, biking and running, but competitive basketball, handball, racketball and later in life, his beloved Pickleball. He stayed in shape by taking yoga, Zumba, tai chi and Pilates classes.

Charles was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1931. He lived on Holly Street in a Dearborn neighborhood of not only Armenians, but Lebonese, Syrians, Assyrians, Italians, Romanians, Poles, etc…His father proudly worked at Ford Motor Factory and his mother, a Genocide survivor, was a fabulous cook and baked the best lavash in the neighborhood.

Charles was a playful student exceling in stickball, basketball and kick the can. After attending Salina Junior High School he matriculated to Fordson High School graduating in the January class of 1950. After 26 years in the Air Force reaching the rank of Master Sergeant, Charles retired and moved the family to San Diego where he attended San Diego State University earning a B.A. in Recreation.

As Charles is quoted saying, “I like to do things by the numbers”. He loved even numbers, and would be happy at the alliteration of his time of death—2:19pm on 2/19/2019. Kachadoorian is twelve letters long and Charles was blessed with twelve grandchildren. Charles started participating in running and swimming competitions in the mid-1980’s and completed more than 10 marathons, including the San Diego, Los Angeles and, proudly, the Detroit Free Press marathons.

When Charles’ hips started to wear out as he was approaching his seventies, he switched his “need for speed” to swimming. He collected nearly 175 medals, plaques, ribbons—almost all gold, silver or bronze—in over 20 years of swimming. Everything from 50 meter sprints to rough water swims: the open water swims that stands out most are the “base to base” swims in 1996 and 1997 where he won the “Perseverence Award” and in the latter, Charles placed third.

To be fair, Charles loved to compete, but mostly he loved the people he competed with—he loved the people that loved “to play”. Playing might have been swimming, Pickleball or Zumba, he just enjoyed talking to people about life. He had a genuine interest in the world: asking geo-political, climate, history, ethnicity questions of just about anyone. Everyone had an opinion and he was interested in knowing what interested them.

The loss of Charles is a tremendous sadness and we will miss his enthusiasm for everything. We will miss his geniune delight in his grandchildren’s successes and his not wanting to miss any chance to celebrate, dance or just talk about the weather over a cup of coffee.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to St. John Garabed Armenian Church of San Diego/Building Fund, 4473 30th Street, San Diego, California 92116 in memory of Charles Kachadoorian or online at or to the Copely-Price YMCA in memory of Charles Kachadoorian, 4300 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92105 or (Select Copely-Price branch and mention Charles Kachadoorian in comments) .

Family and friends are invited to attend a visitation, Thursday March 7, 2019 at 11am with the funeral liturgy to follow immediately at 12pm at the North Chapel at Liberty Station/NTC 2881 Roosevelt Rd, San Diego, CA 92106. Internment will follow at Miramar National Cemetary, 5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego.


  • Visitation Thursday, March 7, 2019
  • Memorial Service Thursday, March 7, 2019
  • Committal Service Thursday, March 7, 2019

Charles "Garabed" Kachadoorian

have a memory or condolence to add?

Heidi Marie

March 5, 2019

I met the Kachadoorians when I was about 8 years old. I loved going to their house. It was a brief time in my young life and the family that Charles and Rosemary had created had a positive influence on the rest of my life. I tried to mimic what I remembered from their family when I started my own.

I lost touch with the kachadoorians for about 40 years. Was and am so happy to be reunited . Any time I've made my way to San Diego Charles always made me feel important, like he was interested in what was going on with me. I loved hearing his voice and hearing his stories.

Where I'm happy that he is with Rosemary. I'm saddened that he's not here. although I didn't live close by, I always took comfort knowing that Charles was out there, doing his thing , making the world a better place with his energy, positivity and cheerfulness.

He was pretty wonderful and is dearly missed.

Rosemary greene

March 1, 2019

I know Charles from Pickle Ball. He loved to play as we all do and he was very competitive and another lefty like me. He didn't like to be called Charlie which I had a hard time with calling him
Charles instead of Charlie because one of my dogs is called Charlie. I told him that and he just
smiled. Charles will be so missed I can't believe he is gone. It happened so fast. He had just
ran a marathon and was so active in everything. He would run a 5 k race and play Pickle Ball for
3 hours and not be tired. I will miss him at the YMCA and the parties. I'm glad he didn't have to
be sick too long.