By: Linda Lazar, Senior Editor
When Business Life Magazine launched its first issue in 1990, we wanted to publish a special cover story, one that would feature community members who were instrumental in shaping the region and who would be the champions of shaping the future. Larry Zarian was a natural choice for our premier issue. He was nearly halfway through his 16 years of service as a Glendale City Council member and mayor, and his many contributions had already influenced the history of the region immeasurably. Today, we are saddened to write about his passing.
On October 13, Zarian’s battle with a rare and aggressive cancer, multiple myeloma, took him from our community. However, his contributions will continue to live into the next century.
Zarian immigrated to the United States at age 14. He became a successful businessman and spent his life passionately serving the community. In 1983, he was elected to the Glendale City Council, and was the first person of Armenian descent to hold the office. Much was accomplished during Zarian’s four terms in office. Former mayor and council colleague, Sheldon Baker, remembers, “Larry could bring people together to resolve their differences. That was important. He had strong opinions, we all did, but Larry was willing to put aside our differences. We’d remind each other that we were five people representing 200,000 and each of us was only as good as we were collectively.”
Zarian was instrumental in the start up of the Beeline. He was involved in many of the negotiations for the Bob Hope Airport, and for guiding the Nestle Corporation to Glendale. His work in bringing the Galleria to Glendale brought hundreds of thousands of people to Glendale generating substantial tax revenue for the city. He coordinated a group that started the Veterans Memorial project. He initiated the annual Love Ride with Jay Leno, and the annual Cruise Night Auto Show on Brand. He was proud of the work the council did in saving of the Historic Alex Theatre from destruction, as well as starting the City’s code enforcements and the zero tolerance policy against graffiti.
In a 2009 interview for GTV6, Zarian was asked how he wanted to be remembered, he quietly expressed that he would like to be remembered as a good citizen, someone who did everything he could to make his community better. He wanted to be remembered as a man who gave everything he could to his family, as someone who gave unselfishly, not looking for anything in return.
As an immigrant to the U.S., he loved this country and wanted to give it everything he had. Service was Zarian’s thank you to America for the opportunity he was given. He reached every goal he had ever worked toward, and he believed that nowhere else but America could someone do that.
He spoke passionately on his radio and TV shows, suggesting, “If everyone did just a little bit, we could all make it better. If you and I don’t do it, who will? We can’t sit home and just ask for things to happen. We have to get out there and do it.
” It is with sadness that we must say goodbye to a man whose influence changed and enriched our community and our lives. Zarian devoted his life to service, volunteerism, and to his family. He will be missed.
Larry and his family requested that donations in his honor be made to the Armenian Society of Los Angeles, Glendale Adventist Medical Center, the Glendale Kiwanis, and the Self-Aid Workshop. Please visit our website to read an extended article at: www.BusinessLife.com