Haig Schuyler Aijian M.D. was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1919, and went home to be with the Lord on November 5, 2009. He will be greatly missed by his family, Paul and Carolyn Aijian of Santa Barbara; Mark and Patty Aijian of Goleta; Peter and Jan Aijian of Arroyo Grande; Lane and the Rev. William Anderson of Melbourne, Florida; and Maria and Joe Eagan of Paso Robles. His grandchildren number 17, and he had three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ethel Aijian M.D. Schuyler (Sky to his friends) was the second son of MIsak and Mabel Schuyler Aijian, and is also survived by his older brother, Paul M. Aijian Ph.D. of Canyon Country.
Growing up in the hard times of the Depression, his values and ideals were forged in the crucible of two totally different cultures. The Aijians were first-generation immigrants, having fled the genocide of the Armenian people in their native Turkey. The Schuylers traced their heritage back to Phillip Schuyler, the Revolutionary War general and first governor of New York. Misak Aijian was a revered pastor in the Armenian Protestant church. He raised his two sons with a love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a strong ethic to get a professional degree. He pursued a pre-med college course, and with persistence, got into the USC School of Medicine. It was there, staying back a year to teach, that he met Ethel, his future wife. They graduated at the end of World War II, and after military duty, he went on to a career in pathology, and his wife practiced pediatrics. He spent a good deal of his professional career teaching several generations of medical laboratory technologists, many of whom still are working and remember him fondly. He retired as a senior partner in the largest private practice of pathology in Southern California.
His emphasis on becoming a professional was passed on to his children, with Paul and Peter getting medical degrees, Mark entering law, and Lane earning a graduate degree in textile chemistry. Their adopted Greek daughter, Maria, has pursued a medical career later in life. With her father’s support, she has been taking a nursing degree as a mother of two, and now as a grandmother. Even more important than his emphasis on education was his directing each of his children in the path of personal faith in Christ. The children spent their entire youth attending church, youth groups, catechism class, singing in the church choir, and going to summer camps. The result, by God’s grace, is multiple generations of children and grandchildren who love the Lord. He generously supported the church and missions organizations, and even took his three grandsons with him on a trip to Asia to visit missionaries there.
Schuyler’s faithfulness to the promises of God about how to raise up a family were rewarded richly, and he lived 90 years to see the fruit of that labor. He was a special man to many, not just to the family he loved and raised. Many young people needing a loving home spent from months to years under his roof as well, and their current life and faith bear the mark of his willingness to take them in when they were in need.
He had a wide range of interests, including Presbyterian and Republican politics, learning French in his 80s and then traveling to France, and a lifelong love of Yosemite National Park, which he passed on to his children and grandchildren. He was a constant reader, and had a keen mind and good health up to his dying day. His years after Ethel died were split between his home in Santa Barbara, and living with Lane’s family in Melbourne, Florida.
We will all miss him and are comforted that we believe, as he did, that this time on earth is just a prologue to eternal life in the presence of our Lord, spending eternity in the company of family and friends who preceded us there.
A memorial service is planned at his home church, El Montecito Presbyterian Church, at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 29. Private internment will be held November 30 at Santa Barbara Cemetery.