In Memory of Dr. Vartan Aynaciyan
Dr. Aynaciyan was born in Yesilkoy, Istanbul, Turkey in 1923. He was the oldest of three siblings, born to Janik and Heranus Aynaciyan. His older sister, Silva, was a seismologist and the younger, Jacklin, was a nurse. He attended Bezazyan Lyceum and later graduated from Getronagan Lyceum in 1942. He attended the Faculty of Medicine at Istanbul University and graduated as a physician at the age of 25. While a student, he made and sold filigree jewelry, a trade he learned from his father. He also made and sold stethoscopes which he was very proud of to support his family and himself. His family needed the additional funds because his father was exiled by the Turkish government for eight months to the mountains of Erzurum for hard labour for not being able to pay the exuberant wealth tax imposed on the Greek and Armenian population in 1943-1944.
He served as a medical reserve officer in the Turkish Army for one year. He practiced medicine in Istanbul for ten years. In 1957, he married Madlen Tertsakyan, the daughter of a physician (Dr. Simon Tertsakyan). They had two children, Hasmig who went on to become a dentist and Raffi, an orthodontist. His only grandchild, Anna, was the apple of his eye.
The family immigrated to the United States from Turkey in 1959. Four years were spent in East St. Louis, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri where he did his internships in internal medicine. While at St. Mary’s Hospital in Missouri, he was one of the leading researchers at the time to use telemetric means to determine the pH of the duodenum. His work was later published in the Journal of Gastroenterology in 1969. In 1963, the family moved to Miami, Florida where he started a fellowship in gastroenterology at Mt. Sinai Hospital. In 1964, the family moved to Toronto, Canada. He continued his gastroenterology training at Toronto Western Hospital and was later granted an associateship title in clinical research in gastroenterology. He was the first to perform a gastroscopy at Sunnybrook Hospital. During the years from 1967 to 1974, he held various teaching and clinical positions at St. Michael’s Hospital, Sunnybrook Hospital and the University of Toronto. He continued to be associated with St. Michael’s Hospital as active staff in the outpatient Internal Medicine department for a further 26 years. He maintained a private practice at 200 St. Clair Ave. West, eventually moving it over to his home office in Willowdale. He retired in 2009 after having practiced for 61 years in the field of medicine in three different countries.
Aside from medicine and his family, history has always been his passion, especially Armenian history, collecting many fine books in different languages over the years. The importance of education and maintaining Armenian heritage motivated him to be one of the founding members of the first Armenian Day School in Toronto, Holy Cross Armenian Day School, spending many years promoting the school. He spoke five languages including Armenian, English, French, Greek and Turkish. Up until about a year ago, he would spend hours on the Internet googling anything and everything to further his knowledge.
Dad was kind, compassionate, honest, selfless, straight as an arrow, intelligent, entertaining and funny. He always had stories to tell from his life experiences. He adored his family and always wondered how it would be possible to part from them. He loved helping others, be it through medicine or just offering inspirational advice on how to achieve dreams and goals in life especially for recent immigrants. We know he has touched the lives of so many people. We are truly blessed and proud to have had such a special, father, and grandfather with superior attributes and moral character as our role model showing us the path to emulate living our own lives.
After a valiant battle for the last three months, still managing to cast the odd smile, our dear father passed away on his name day, St. Vartan’s Day, February 11, 2021, at the age of 98, a true warrior and saint like his namesake. May your memories remain vivid in the hearts you touched and may you rest in peace, becoming another angel in heaven. We will miss you dearly.
The Aynaciyan and Kababejian Families
Donations may be made to the following organizations:
ARS Armenian School - please contact Mrs. Lorin Markarian at 416-912-7484
Hayastan Foundation Toronto Inc. – please contact Mr. Mig Migirdicyan email@example.com
Holy Trinity Armenian Church - 416-431-300