I got the phone call on Wednesday night, just before dinner. Dan Kazarian had passed away. He died on Tuesday while eating breakfast. It was quick. It was unexpected. And his daughter was relieved that he hadn’t suffered. Dan is now with His Savior and his dear wife, Julia. I suppose that most folks reading this Back Page will not have a clue who I am talking about, but Dan had been a member (and a very loyal member) here at Peninsula for over 48 years. That’s a long time to belong to a church. But Dan and Julia were loyal. Faithful. Pillars. Dear friends of Peninsula. They had endured much over the years but had given much as well.
The last time I saw Dan was in August, before leaving town for the Bombo medical mission. He was in good spirits and looking pretty good, actually. The staff had been over to celebrate his 92nd birthday in July. And he looked better in August. He’d had a spat of health issues which kept him at home a couple of years ago, so we haven’t seen much of him since then. But I do know this — he read every Friday Update (do you?), and he watched the live stream faithfully. He knew what was going on here at Peninsula and missed you all so very much.
When I first came to Peninsula, Dan would take me to lunch. He loved to bend my ear about the latest theological issue that he’d been spending hours researching on the internet. He liked to know where we were headed as a church. And put in his two cents. He always came back to this piece of advice: I should just study the text for the week and then just get up and talk about it. Uh, that’s not in my skill set or even close to my style. So, there is one piece of advice I haven’t followed. But he meant well. He always did.
Eventually, he had his own website where he would post articles and ruminations on all matters theological. He loved the Word, to study it and to debate it. And he didn’t mind stirring up some trouble around his interpretations of the Scripture.
Dan was never in want of an opinion. In any area. He was an engineer, retiring from the LA Airforce Base, if my memory serves me well. Having a church full of engineers just means you’d better think things through. Things like theology and vision and purpose and direction. You have to be prepared to answer every conceivable question because someone is going to ask it. And if no one else did, Dan would.
He mellowed in his later years and seemed to enjoy living at Canterbury, across the street. He missed Julia very, very much. His life was never quite the same after she passed away from cancer in 2009. And now they are both with Jesus. I just miss them. The streets of heaven are getting populated with Peninsula alums. We bow before a Savior who is able to keep that which we’ve committed to Him until that day. Safe at home. And we must press on since our race is not yet done.