Sarkis H. Kavookjian, USAF Colonel Retired, of Stillwaters in Dadeville, Alabama passed away peacefully after stroke complications at the age of 88 (February 10, 1932 – November 23, 2020). Sark was born as the son of hard working Armenian immigrant parents, and grew up in the Boston suburb of Somerville, Massachusetts. He frequently told his children and grandchildren stories about skipping school as a child and sneaking into Fenway Park to watch Ted Williams and the Boston Red Sox practice. After graduating from Somerville High School, Sark attended Boston College and graduated from Syracuse University. He entered the Air Force and served as a Navigator for the B-29 bomber during the Korean War. He then went to pilot training and flew transport airplanes in the Military Airlift Command (MAC), including the C-141 in the Viet Nam War. He next flew the C-5 as the initial cadre (the elite pilots first selected), and flew the first C-5 from assembly line to delivery at an Air Force base (Altus, Oklahoma), eventually becoming their Squadron Commander. His career in the Air Force spanned nearly three decades with several command positions, culminating as Deputy Commander of Operations for the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, where he served for over two years before retiring in 1978. He had previously earned his MBA at Auburn University in Montgomery in the early 1970s while attending the Air War College, and earned his PhD from Temple University after retirement from the Air Force. His second career included teaching at community colleges in Delaware, including Delaware Technical and Community College, where his teaching touched the lives of many students and colleagues. In the mid-1990s, Sark moved near family in Alabama and enjoyed his retirement golfing and fishing on the lake; he also participated in and taught classes for several years in Auburn University’s Adult Lifetime Learning program (now OLLI). He was a lifetime member of the Air Force Association and attended the Lake Martin Living Waters Church.
Sark was preceded in death by his parents, Harry Sarkis Kavookjian and Sina Dinjian Kavookjian, his very close uncle and aunt, Mihran Kavookjian and Marie Zolmian Kavookjian, his sister Mary Kavookjian Danielian (George), and his former late wife, Patty Jones Kavookjian of Albany, Georgia. Sark is survived by his son, Steven H. Kavookjian (Beverly) of Dadeville, Alabama, his daughter, Jan Kavookjian of Auburn, Alabama, five grandchildren, John Rubley (Nikki) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Lauren Rubley of Auburn, Alabama, Jill Fuller (Christopher) of Auburn, Alabama, Kelsey Kavookjian of Phoenix, Arizona, and Steven Kavookjian (Kendall) of Eugene, Oregon. He is also survived by four great-grandchildren, Christine Fuller, Jackson Rhodes, Carson Fuller, and Autumn Rubley in addition to several beloved nieces and nephews.
Sark was an inspiration to all who knew him. There are many among his family, friends, and former colleagues who have said he was the support and the encourager that made their achievements possible. He was a principled person whose devotion to family and faith in God set an example for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Throughout his life, he was an avid fisherman and, according to Sark, he is probably still a feared legend among the Largemouth Bass population throughout Georgia and Alabama! He loved watching sports, particularly the Boston Red Sox and football/basketball for his alma maters. He is already missed but has carried forward his Armenian heritage and personal legacy which established an eternal place in the hearts of those who knew him.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Sark to either one of his long-time regular charities: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital ( https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html) or the Jimmy fund of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (www.jimmyfund.org).
Services will take place on Sunday, November 29, with Family Visitation from 1:30 – 3:00pm central time and a Memorial Service from 3:00 – 3:30 central time at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home, 1500 Frederick Rd., Opelika, AL 36801. Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home website: www.jeffcoattrant.com.
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