Gladys K. Lujan
Gladys Mary Ann Kinoian was born in Pawtucket, R.I., on May 21, 1934. She passed away May 24, 2023, three days after her 89th birthday, and less than two months before her 54th wedding anniversary. She suffered a stroke on Thanksgiving Day, leaving her paralyzed on one side and unable to speak. Her last days were spent at Mom and Dad’s Place, an assisted living facility in Tucson, where she received loving care. Husband Jerry and son Michael were at her bedside.
Gladys graduated from Pawtucket High School, where she participated in sports and the arts, and was a member of the Rhode Island Honor Society. Gladys then attended Bryant College in Rhode Island, a two-year business school. She was a member of the 1956 Chi Sigma Iota and the women’s softball championship team. Gladys earned a degree in teaching. She worked in New York for two years before returning to Pawtucket to teach business. While in Pawtucket she saw an ad seeking secretaries to work overseas for the State Department. She thought she would try it for a “couple of years.” That “couple of years” turned out to be 33 years of a successful career as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO)! FSOs are the foreign branch of the State Department. They staff Embassies, Consulates General, and Consulates. They must spend the bulk of their career overseas. In Gladys’ case, that was more than 20 years!
Gladys’ initial diplomatic assignments were: secretary at U.S. diplomatic posts in Algiers, Algeria, (during the Algeria/French War for Independence); Athens, Greece (where she had her picture taken shaking hands with President Truman, a photo she cherished); and Port-au-Prince, Haiti (during Papa Doc Duvalier’s dictatorship and living conditions were difficult). It was at the latter place that she met her husband-to-be, Jerry Lujan, who was also assigned to the Embassy.
Gladys and Jerry were married in Hartford, Conn., in June 1970, and Jerry left immediately on assignment to Santiago, Chile. The Lujans were among the first couples to enjoy a new program for Foreign Service couples called Tandem Couples. It allowed them to be assigned together in all of their next assignments—Caracas, Venezuela; Lagos, Nigeria; and Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic.
While she was assigned to the Embassy in Haiti, Gladys collected many Haitian paintings. She donated several to Bryant College, and part of a new library wing was dedicated to the Gladys Kinoian Lujan Haitian Art Collection.
Gladys loved the Foreign Service. She particularly loved living in different countries where she could learn about their cultures and meet musicians, artists, tradesmen, and their families.
After retiring, she and Jerry moved to SaddleBrooke. She was one of the founders of a group called Demo Dames, which eventually became the SaddleBrooke Democratic Club. She played tennis and the piano. She loved playing Bridge and Texas Hold’em.
A Celebration of Life, put together by her closest friends, “Bridge Buddies,” and Texas Hold’em fellow players, was held at the residence of Bob and Rose Ramig.
Gladys’ mother, Alice, and stepfather, Ohan, predeceased her as did her older sisters, Betty and Grace, and her younger brother, Steve.
Gladys is survived by her husband, Jerry; sons, Michael and Christopher; stepdaughter, Lisa; two grandsons; and one granddaughter.
Internment was a family-only ceremony at the Military Veterans’ Cemetery in Marana.
Gladys did well in the Foreign Service, going from being a secretary to different Ambassadors all the way up to Consul and then the diplomatic rank of Second Secretary. Not bad for a teacher from Pawtucket!
Gladys is on her last assignment. May God bless her and let her rest in peace.
Full obituary available online at saddlebrookeprogress.com/in-passing
John Robert Mazujian
John Robert Mazujian, age 90, of Tucson, passed away peacefully on June 25, 2023. He was born on Nov. 19, 1932, in Newark, N.J., to the late Hagop Mazujian and Mary Ourganian. He was the beloved husband of Bette (Carlson) Mazujian with whom he had recently celebrated 70 years of marriage.
He was devoted to his family: daughter Donna (John) Sohikian of Tucson, and son John (Rebecca) Mazujian of Tucson; four grandchildren: Christopher (Alessia) Mazujian, Ashley (David) Kaczorowski, Lauren Sohikian, and Brooke Mazujian; six great-grandchildren; and his sister Irene Sarkisian and her family. He was predeceased by another sister, Lucille Ioas.
John graduated in 1951 from Irvington High School in New Jersey and started his college career at Union Junior College, Elizabeth, N.J. During this time, John was a starter on the basketball and baseball teams and a cheerleader.
John’s education was interrupted while he served in the United States Army from February 1953 until December 1954 during the Korean War. After his time in the service, John continued his education at Seton Hall University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education.
John became an educator, spending 31 years teaching driver education at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, N.Y., where he coached the baseball and wrestling teams.
Upon retirement, John and Bette moved to Arizona; first Sedona for 15 years, and then to SaddleBrooke in Tucson for another 15 years. He enjoyed traveling, visiting family and friends, singing with church choirs as well as SaddleBrooke Singers, and dining out.
Interment will be in the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Marana, Ariz., at a future date.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association or Family First in Oracle, Ariz.