Christine Saxenian passed away peacefully at age 88 on June 23, 2020. Her life was filled with love and laughter, and she will be dearly missed.
Christine was born in Farrell, PA in 1931 soon after her parents, Costa and Elena Yovonovich, immigrated to the United States from Bitola, Macedonia. She was a lifelong resident of Syracuse and graduated from Valley High School in 1949. After high school, while her older brother was away in the Navy, Christine worked at the Booher Lumber Company for several years to help support her mother and three younger sisters.
She met her husband Ara on a blind date and they married in 1959. Christine and Ara went on to have four children and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just prior to his death in 2010. For decades she supported her husband as together they built their family business, Saxenian Rug Company.
A devoted wife and mother, Christine loved spending time with family and friends. More than anything, she relished attending numerous family gatherings over the years and would light up whenever she saw her children and grandchildren. She was adored by her many nieces and nephews, cousins and friends, and will be most remembered for her sweet nature and generosity, with a smile and a kind word for everyone.
Christine was a devoted and active member of St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church and its Ladies’ Philoptochos Society. She regularly helped out at the church’s many functions and its Annual Greek Festival. She was a longtime member of Bellevue Country Club, the site of countless events with her many friends. She loved playing golf with her family and her friends in the Ladies’ 18-hole League. For many years she enjoyed skiing with her family every winter at Song Mountain, where they held season passes. She loved her regular bridge and poker games as well as visits to the casino. Christine and Ara also enjoyed traveling and spending their winters in New Smyrna Beach, FL.
During the last few years of Christine’s life, her sister Marge provided exceptional care, love and devotion, keeping Christine active and engaged every day. Aunt Marge remains a godsend to the family.
Christine was predeceased by her husband, Ara, brother, James (“YY”) Yovonovich, sister, Sophie (Bill) McPhail, sisters-in-law, Virginia Saxenian and Angel (Karl) Gozigian, brothers-in-law, Gene Pyle, Stephen (Mary) Saxenian and Diran (Grace) Saxenian.
She is survived by her four children: Gary (Carin) of Camillus, Nancy (Tom) Emmons of Auburn, WA, James (Kim) of McLean, VA, and Linda (Marty) Kelley of Syracuse; her sisters: Rose Pyle of Fort Wayne, IN and Margaret (Gus) Karafilopulos of Syracuse; four granddaughters (Jennifer, Ava, Ashley and Brooke), two step-grandsons (Sam and Joe), and many nieces, nephews and cousins, all of whom she loved dearly.
Services will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church, 325 Waring Road, Syracuse, NY 13224. Burial will immediately follow at Oakwood Cemetery. Calling hours will be one hour prior to the church service at 10:00 am.
Contributions may be made in Christine’s name to St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church or to St. Paul’s Armenian Apostolic Church, 310 N. Geddes St., Syracuse, NY 13204.