Parnagian Family Legacy Lives on in San Joaquin Valley

Parnagian Family Legacy Lives on in San Joaquin Valley

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Contributor

Mr. Parnagian with visiting former Armenian Agriculture Minister Davit
Lokian (center) and community leader and activist Manas Boujikian (far
right) survey the crop

Special to Asbarez

In the early 1900’s the Armenian-American diaspora began to really
grow as Armenians left the villages of their ancestors in search of a
better life. Many made their way to California because of the richness
of the land and the similarities to home. The Parnagian family,
founders of Fowler Packing, were among those families who settled in
the San Joaquin Valley.

`This Valley was, and still remains, a paradise for those who want
that life of working the land. Armenians seem to have an innate love
for the soil and the food it can produce,’ stated Fowler Packing
President Dennis Parnagian.

The late Sam Parnagian started Fowler Packing because of this love for
the soil, establishing one of the top fresh fruit packinghouses in
California. Today Sam’s four sons Dennis, Randy, Ken, and Philip
strive to ensure that they continue their father’s legacy by `doing
the `right thing’ for growers, employees, customers, and the

As active members in the Armenian community, they have `done the right
thing’ on numerous occasions, helping the Armenian community in a
variety of philanthropic activities. `As long as we keep our Church
and our faith, there will always be an Armenian community that has
meaning and keeps the flame of our heritage alive,’ said Dennis

That is why the Parnagian family, along with various other members of
the Fresno Armenian community have worked extremely hard to bring
influential religious figures such as Catholicos Aram I and his
predecessor Karekin II to the San Joaquin Valley.

On the farm

`When religious leaders visit the Valley it is always exciting and
inspiring. We know there are `flocks’ of Armenians scattered
throughout the world but we remain very connected with one another
because of our religion and our spiritual leaders, ‘ explained Mr.
Parnagian. `When they personally visit, it reinvigorates us and
strengthens the feelings we have as Armenians. ‘ He then added, `We
are fortunate to have religious leaders and seminaries to keep the
traditions or our faith strong and sustainable.’

`The Parnagian family has been a beloved presence in the San Joaquin
Valley and faithful members of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church
and the Armenian-American community for decades. They are a
hard-working and altruistic family who have utilized the resources
they have earned through the sweat of their brow, through their hard
and righteous labor, to make a difference in the lives of their fellow
man and community. The Parnagian brothers, Dennis, Randy, Ken, and
Philip, and now the new generation of the Parnagian family, are
continuing in the faithful footsteps of their late father and
grandfather Sam, and carrying on his legacy by contributing to the
advancement of their local community and the greater Armenian-American
community through their generosity and support. Their boundless love
and devotion to our faith and nation, and their unwavering allegiance
to the Holy See of Cilicia and our Prelacy has played a significant
role in the realization of our endeavors and mission. We are
privileged to have them as our dearest friends,’ stated Western
Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.

The Parnagians have also helped bring political figures to the San
Joaquin Valley, such as Armenia’s Secretary of Agriculture, Armenia’s
Consul General for the United States and Raffi Hovanissian (member of
the Parliament of Armenia and a Fresno native). Parnagian
emphasized the importance of these visits saying, `The interaction and
exchange of information is helpful to us and to them as we work
together to find ways for improving and developing opportunities in
Armenia. Simply getting to know one another and building relationships
is often the most important step for ongoing and lasting relationships
that benefit Armenians here and in Armenia.’

It is this sense of pride and dedication, that families like the
Parnagians have, which has seen the Armenians in the San Joaquin
Valley succeed.

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