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Obituary: Armen A. Dildilian

Armen A. Dildilian, 86, of Port Washington, died on Dec. 1, 2009 at the Hospice Inn in Melville. He was the husband of Margaret A. Dildilian for over 61 years.

Mr. Dildilian was born on Jan. 28, 1923 in Athens, Greece, where his parents Aram and Christine Dildilian had fled as refugees from the Armenian genocide taking place in Anatolian Turkey. Mr. Dildilian arrived in the San Francisco Bay area with his parents directly from Ellis Island at the age of 5 months and called himself a native San Franciscan. He was a resident of Port Washington for the past 40 years.

From 1942 until his retirement in 1983, Mr. Dildilian’s career was with Pan American World Airways, where his livelihood mirrored the evolution of the airline industry, from mechanic on Pan Am’s Clipper Ships to director of Pilot Training in the era of jumbo jets. He started by servicing the flying boats in San Francisco Bay. When the United States entered WWII, he served with Pan Am as part of the Naval Air Transport Service, transporting the wounded from the battlefields of Tinian, Saipan and the Philippines. After the war, he became a trainer of pilots for Pan Am flight crews stationed in the Pacific, traveling frequently to Hong Kong and Tokyo in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1969, with the advent of the Boeing 747 aircraft, his career brought him to JFK International Airport where he eventually became director of Training Programs. In 1978, Mr. Dildilian helped plan and operate Pan Am’s Flight Training Academy in Miami.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter Karen Dildilian Tartell and son-in-law Ross Tartell; his son Grant Armen Dildilian and daughter-in-law Lynn Dildilian; and two beloved grandsons, Michael Armen Tartell and Reef Colter Dildilian.

A memorial service will take place on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. at the Congregational Church of Manhasset, 1845 Northern Blvd., Manhasset. Memorial contributions may be made to the Congregational Church of Manhasset or the Armenian Missionary Association of America, 31 W. Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652-1409.