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Michael George Najarian, 1943-2020

Santa arrives with his helpers at St. Ann’s Orphanage in Washington, D.C.,
December 2012.

Michael George Najarian, who worked for 48 years as an IT specialist at The Washington Post then found a second career at VVA national headquarters, died of cancer May 14 at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was 76 years old. A lifelong resident of the Washington, D.C., area, he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1962 and served for four years, including a tour of duty in the Vietnam War.

At work at VVA’s 17th National Convention
in Springfield, Ill., July 2015.

“I thought the world of Mike Najarian,” said former Washington Post publisher Donald Graham, a fellow Vietnam veteran. “We worked together at The Post for decades. He was an early adept at computers and worked in our IT department from the 1960s. The Post went through many challenges; Mike and I worked together through one of the gravest of those, side-by-side doing work we didn’t know well. I knew he was ultimately reliable.”

After retiring in 2008, Najarian immediately joined the national staff in Silver Spring working until earlier this year in the Admin Department. “Mike was the ultimate jack of all trades for VVA,” said National President John Rowan. “He did everything from fixing computers, printers, postage machines, and shredders to helping the Membership Department and proofreading The VVA Veteran. He also worked long hours at our National Conventions and Leadership Conferences. No one else at national headquarters did so many different jobs, and did them so well.” 

Mike Najarian was a founder and longtime active member of VVA’s Silver Spring Chapter 641. In 1998 he and his friend Art Wong started the chapter’s all-volunteer Wall Washing program. That regular, early-morning Saturday washing of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial continues to this day from April through November. 

On June 10, 2009, Chapter 641 members Mike Najarian and Dave Gudes met with
students of Texas’ Taylor Middle School to discuss their Vietnam War experiences,
as well as the history and meaning of the Wall.

His volunteer work did not go unnoticed. “One spring my youngest daughter said she wanted to do her high school photo project on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” Don Graham said. “We went there often and were there one Saturday to find a team of volunteers washing the Wall, including Mike. Once again, I was so proud of him.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael Najarian’s interment at Arlington National Cemetery and memorial service will be held at dates to be determined.





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