Saturday, May 13, 2017

RIP Albert Nalbandian

San Francisco Chronicle
May 14, 2017

San Francisco lost one of its legends this week, a true character who contributed to the tapestry and folklore of our city by the bay. Born at St. Francis Memorial Hospital on September 15th, 1921, Albert Nalbandian was a native son, through and through. His father, an Armenian immigrant to the US from the Ottoman Empire, established Paul's Flowers in 1915 and created a new beginning for his 3 children, of which Albert was his eldest. Their sidewalk flower stand, a simple vessel for delivering beauty to the average passerby, paved the way for over a century of purpose and inspiration for the Nalbandian family. Albert was tapped in from the start, becoming a fixture at his father's flower stand at a young age. Undeniably, he felt the pulse of this city's heartbeat as he was inspired to expand the business and take over the flower stand at the corner of Stockton and Geary Streets, the I.Magnin flower stand, named after the iconic department store.

Over the years, he became an institution with his magnetic personality and boundless energy. He served his customers for over 70 years on that street corner, looking and observing with big eyes, delivering beauty and purpose every day. A graduate of USF with a major in Philosophy, Albert was active in his university's drama department. His love of an audience grew undeniable as he performed in stage plays around the city. Through his years, Al was drawn to Hollywood, and amassed a formidable collection of screen acting credits over the years, from "The Conversation", to "American Graffiti", "So I Married an Axe Murderer" to "Once a Thief", among many many others. His love of all things Armenian led him to make nearly 20 yearly trips to the USSR during the cold war years, as he took medical supplies and gifts to those in need year after year. He was featured in the June 1978 issue of National Geographic among notable Armenian-Americans, and was a frequent subject of local papers, appearing in Herb Caen's and Carl Nolte's column, among others.

He lived a life rich in so many ways, and was active in his business until the very end, showing us strength of spirit, longevity and determination on the stage of an ever-changing world and an ever-changing San Francisco.

He passed away peacefully at the age of 95, on Tuesday May 9th, 2017. Albert is survived by his wife Aida, his two daughters Elizabeth and Louise, his son-in-law Patrick, and his granddaughters Sofia and Alexandria. Services will be held on Friday May 19th at 12:30pm, at St. John's Armenian Apostolic Church.

Born: 9/15/1921, San Francisco, California, U.S.A
Died: 5/9/1917, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Albert Nalbandian’s western – actor:
Gone With the West – 1975 (Mimmo’s man)

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