Harry Darvishian, 1922-2009






Harry Darvishian, a gifted craftsman and artist whose graceful, sometimes quirky but often practical creations delighted family members, neighbors and visitors to his garage workshop, died May 28, 2009, at his home in Kelseyville, Calif., with his wife of 57 years, Maureen, beside him.

He was 87 and had battled emphysema for many years.

A memorial celebration of his life, love and friendship was held June 6.

Although self taught, his talent was recognized early and he considered a career as a graphic artist. But he concluded that “drawing pictures of shoes and underwear” for advertisers was not for him. He enjoyed diverse artistic challenges, something reflected in the eclecticism of his projects.

His work ranged from early American-style furniture to life-sized fabric-on-wood animal sculptures to hand-carved carousel horses prized by collectors. He also fashioned such eye-catching pieces as a miniature pedal-powered Indy racer and a hovercraft. A stickler for detail, he would often spend weeks or months researching the nature of his subjects, such as the physiology of Bengal tigers.

Born Nov. 7, 1922, in Detroit, Mich., Harry joined the United States Navy in 1942. He served in the Pacific throughout World War II aboard the highly decorated destroyer USS Hudson, and was partially deafened in one ear by cannon fire, though few who knew him ever heard him complain of the fact. The ship’s skipper employed his artistic talents by selecting him to paint the various symbols of victory and action on an exhaust funnel.

After the war, Harry moved to Southern California. He had intended to work in the aircraft industry but took a job as a mason, a trade he already knew. Through a friend, he met Maureen Tevis of San Francisco, while she was visiting her sister and brother-in-law. The couple were married March 15, 1952 at the St. Ferdinand Church rectory in San Fernando, Calif., and eventually had two children.

Soon after meeting his wife, Harry became a furniture mover, a job he held for 16 years. In 1968 the family moved to Kelseyville, Calif., where, after working several years as a floor covering installer, he retired from a position as a custodian for the Kelseyville Unified School District.

He leaves his wife Maureen Darvishian; daughter, Lorie Cole; son-in-law, William Cole; son, Dan Darvishian; and daughter-in-law, Linda Darvishian. He also leaves nieces Penny Foster, Jan Ebert and Pat Skofield, as well as grandsons Brandon and Lucas Cole, their families and numerous other relatives.

He will be dearly missed.