ARA AFTANDILIAN Obituary (1960 – 2021) – Beverly, MA
AFTANDILIAN, Ara Steven Ara was born on February 8th, 1960. His earliest childhood memory was running home from school to watch the Red Sox in the ’67 World Series. They lost, but he didn’t. He went on to have a rich, beautiful life that included countless family and friends along with watching his beloved Sox claim 3 world championships. Ara’s love for his family was paramount. Everything he did was for his wife Terri Lee and their children, Danielle, Alec and Luca. He gave them homes in Topsfield and Manchester by-the-Sea where he spent his time running, biking, skiing, swimming, coaching, boating and being a reliable and trusted dad, husband and friend. Ara found heaven on earth with his love of the outdoors. His need for steep and deep was shared with his buddies and he skied up north and out west this past spring with the guys, nieces and his children. With the gift of education from his parents Victor and Stella, Ara graduated from Weston High School in 1978 and went on to Cornell and MIT to pursue his interest in hotel management and real estate development. While he had projects from Miami to Maine, his greatest accomplishment was the waterfront district in Portland. His courageous vision for that undeveloped area began with a Residence Inn and continued with the AC Hotel and luxury condominiums at Twenty Thames which raised the bar in Portland for quality of construction and design. These projects provided the launch pad for millions of investment dollars, giving vibrancy and spirit to the area. A trusted mentor to his brother John, Ara maintained a close relationship with both John and his wife Krista, and daughters Lia and Melanie. Memories of our families traveling, and skiing together bring smiles to us all. Ara’s brother Greg, wife Naz and children Victoria and Alexander helped keep his Armenian heritage in his life. He was loved by his “favorite mother-in-law” Dolores and her husband Ernest, as well as by his brother-in-law Ernie, wife Trish and children Ernie and CC. Deep, lasting, respectful relationships defined Ara. His cherished Weston Boys, Cornell and MIT guys, Boston and north shore buddies and Portland coworkers and friends all share one thing: a fiercely loyal relationship that spanned decades. To know Ara was an honor. To become a friend and remain in his life was a given. Ara’s final gift to his family and friends was to connect us all by hand and heart and hold us together in an unprecedented display of love, strength and faith. With a confident and open heart, Ara welcomed God into his life and launched the path of true faith for Dani, Alec and Luca. Ara has found his way home. Ara’s last weeks were a sacred time of love and joy and sorrow intertwined. Lifelong friendships were reinforced, and new ones made. Throughout it all, Ara’s dignity and strength were unyielding. Ara felt that cemeteries were a terrible waste of good real estate. He’s right. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Stephen’s Armenian Church in Watertown, where he was christened, on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. A luncheon will follow at Salem Country Club in Peabody at 1:00p.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Visiting Hours at the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, BEVERLY, Monday, August 30, 2021 from 4:00p.m. to 7:00p.m. In lieu of flowers or meals, the family welcomes donations to the charitable foundation, established by Ara and Terri Lee to support research for a cure. Donations can be sent to “Strong Minds Charitable Foundation,” PO Box 394, Topsfield, MA 01983. Information, directions, condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com
Published by Boston Globe from Aug. 24 to Aug. 25, 2021.