Memory of Vahé Doudaklian
Yeghpayr Vahe is no longer …
Kind, brilliant, discreet, loyal, generous, genuine, inventive, creative, extrovert and warm are some keywords that could describe Yeghpayr Vahe Doudaklian, a kind and wise soul who has always done everything possible to make a difference in life others.
For some of you who are not familiar with the word “yeghpayr”, it means “brother” in Armenian. But in this tribute, “yeghpayr” means much more than that! “Yeghpayr” here embodies genuine, genuine, sincere and unlimited love and care.
I have known Yeghpayr Vahe since August 2000. I was walking around Washington, DC near the White House when I suddenly noticed a brass deer sign and the name “Doudaklian Leathers” between I and K streets NW. The rest is history.
Yeghpayr Vahe was always fit and sharp. A leather apron separated him from his sewing machine or worktable. He could fix a Briggs & Riley luggage or a Zero-Halliburton holster, restore a Louis Vuitton or Hermès handbag, touch up and refresh an Eastman jacket, fashion a personalized leather wallet, or just make jokes with a Governor, US Senator. , a Secret Service agent, a director of the US Treasury Department, or his local UPS driver. He was an incredible multitasking. While working on an item, he kept an eye on the sales floor, checking his computer every now and then, keeping an eye on the television while having interesting and informative conversations.
He was an avid smoker. One day when I asked him, you love life and are a very intelligent person, why do you keep smoking this poison? He looked at me with a smile and said that everything has its time and it will all come to an end eventually. That day, as he was driving with him towards Gaithersburg in his brand new Toyota Highlander, almost past Canal Road, he suddenly picked up the pack of cigarettes, crushed it in his palm, looked at me with a smile and said, “I guess it’s that day, Apo. He opened the driver’s window and threw the bag out. Laughing, he said, “This is the first and last time I’ve thrown something out of the window.” In the past 20 years, I have it. saw him smoke cigars from time to time, but never saw him again with a pack of cigarettes.
Have you ever wondered about the suitcase carried by secret service agents, a few steps from American presidents? This is called “football”, “nuclear football”, the content of which is to be used by the President of the United States to authorize a nuclear attack. Do you know who made the “football” of the last six American presidents? You guess it–Yeghpayr Vahe… from scratch. He was, however, upset that US government agencies, for their own safety or for other reasons, never credited his work when these suitcases were on display at the National History Museum, choosing instead to give the credit to Zero-Halliburton.
Yeghpayr Vahe’s main clientele consisted of US government agencies, senators, ambassadors, visiting dignitaries and public figures. He never bragged about his clientele or his unrivaled expertise. He had a keen eye for detail and a refined, up-to-date fashion sense.
Above all, Yeghpayr Vahe was a bold and outspoken Armenian. He has lived in the United States for over 45 years. I never heard him use foreign words when speaking Armenian. He was also an avid conversationalist in English and Arabic.
Yeghpayr Vahe was born into a modest family in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon on January 12, 1958. He attended Sofia Hagopian Primary School and then worked in various fields of the leather industry, making handbags and bags. shoes. He left Lebanon in the midst of the civil war and headed for Cyprus, where he temporarily worked in the shoemaking industry. In France, he used his previous experiences repairing leather jackets until he finally reached the United States. He settled in Falls Church, Virginia with his family.
While learning about American culture and the English language, he continued to pursue invaluable experiences in the repair of leather goods and the restoration of automotive upholstery. His innate entrepreneurial skills combined with his first-hand experiences, and he opened his first custom leather goods and repair shop on P Street and then moved to his DC store in 1983.
Yeghpayr Vahe worked tirelessly day and night. He was a role model for many, including myself. He served on the board of directors of the Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church in Bethesda, Maryland for many years, while also serving on the regional executive committee for his beloved eastern region of Homenetmen. He loved football and played with many local Homenetmen teams.
He was always there when needed–Homenetmen events, church bazaars, visiting elderly friends or just showing up to say hello to neighbors or colleagues.
Yeghpayr Vahe has fought all his life for a better and more secure future. He looked forward to his retirement and his time in his native country. Unfortunately, a malignant disease cut short his dreams and he left us with beautiful and warm memories. I am eternally grateful to have appreciated his friendship. I will never forget his advice, his kindness and his brotherly smile. I will never forget you, Yeghpayr Vahe. May God grant rest to your soul.
Till we Meet Again,
Abraham “Apo” Setoyan