Karekin Simonian, beloved husband, father and a grandfather, respected international referee, engineer and devoted philanthropist, passed away on April 17.
Simonian was an internationally recognized referee in weightlifting and bodybuilding sports. He was granted the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness Gold Medal, International Weightlifting Federation Gold Medal for 25 years of Service, and I.W.F Golden Plaque for 50 Years of service as an international referee in bodybuilding and weightlifting, as well as the Gold Medal for his contribution made towards the development of bodybuilding in Armenia, where he established a Bodybuilding and Weightlifting club.
Simonian is one of five people in the world, and the first Armenian, who has been granted the 50 years golden Plaque. He was the International Paralympics Committee Referee Sponsor to NSW-Australian Weightlifting Team and has been the International Federation of Bodybuilding Official Reporter for 50 years.
For more than 50 years Simonian has dedicated his time and expertise to the betterment of sports in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East, Australia, Armenia, United States of America and Canada, as he was a member of the Weightlifting & Bodybuilding Federation in all those countries. He volunteered as a judge and a referee at the Sydney Olympics 2000 on the weight lifting team. He has also supported and worked as a committee member of the Police Citizens Youth Club in Sydney-Australia, and worked with many non-profit humanitarian organizations across the globe.
In 2011 he was nominated for Australian Citizen of the Year by the City of Ryde.
In 2000 he was granted the Key to the Historic City of Melaka, by the Chief Minister of Melaka, Malaysia.
In addition to his career in sports, he holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from London College of Mechanical Engineering by correspondence, and completed a technical mechanical course from Mercedes-Benz Schulung (Germany) and Renault (France). He practiced mechanical engineering until his retirement.
Simonian was also one of the founding members of Homenetmen in Baghdad-Iraq, in 1961. He was also an active member of the Armenian “Vaspooragan” Society.
Karekin Simonian was born in Iraq on July 13, 1932 to an Armenian family. He holds dual citizenship (Australian and American). He married Zvart Vartanian, an educator and Armenian socialite involved in many humanitarian, social, and educational organizations such as the Armenian Relief Society. They have three children, Dr. Margaret Simonian, Sarkis Simonian, and Antranik Simonian, and two grandchildren, Leo and Henry Karekin Simonian.
Funeral services were held on Saturday, April 27 at St. Mary’s Apostolic Church in Glendale. Interment followed at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. A memorial mass on the 40th day of his passing was held on Saturday, May 25 followed by a memorial reception at Shiraz restaurant.