Glady Odian Kabateck


Our mom would be seething if she knew we were revealing that she was 97.
Her amazing life is best described in five remarkable phases. She was born in Chicago during the roaring ’20s before Lindberg crossed the Atlantic. Her parents, Arousiag and Nerses Odian, both survived the Armenian Genocide.
Even 97 years later, she could remember the cold wind blowing off Lake Michigan. By the time Glady reached high school, her father was called to the ministry and offered an Armenian church in Detroit.
In 1945, she was working at radio station WJLB, where she interacted with the music stars of the Big Band era. Glady loved music and, by then, was an accomplished pianist. Even at 97, she could sit down at a piano and play by ear.
In 1947, her father became the first permanent parish priest at St. Paul’s Armenian Church in Fresno. By 1951, she moved to Los Angeles to start the second phase of her life.
She arrived in Los Angeles during the Golden Age of television. She moved into the Hollywood Studio Club, where she lived with other young women getting their start in the entertainment industry, including Kim Novak, Florence Henderson, and Rita Moreno. One day in 1951, while in the employment office at KABC-TV in Los Angeles, she met a young man named Jack Kabateck, who was also applying for a job. Glady was hired and went on to work on many TV shows, arranging and selecting music. including Lawrence Welk and Jack LaLanne. But it was her job working with Ernie Kovacs that became her favorite.
In 1958, after seven years of dating, Jack and Glady married. In 1960, they bought a home in Glendale, and Glady became one of the first people of Armenian descent to live there. In 1961, their first son, Brian, was born. Ernie Kovacs made Glady promise that she would return to work, but she never did.
Glady started the third phase of her life: Being a mother. Glady raised Brian, and in 1968, their second son, John, came along. In 1972, they bought their forever home, where Glady remained until she passed away.
The fourth phase of her life found Glady wanting to do more. First, she became a teacher’s aide at a local school. She then returned to university and earned a master’s in education. She took a job at Glendale Community College as a counselor and launched the adult reentry program, helping (mostly) women returning to school. She received accolades for her programs and leadership. Glady retired from the college in 2006, just before she turned 80.
The fifth and final phase didn’t really start with her retirement because Glady and Jack didn’t just live in Glendale — they were in Glendale. She had countless friends and belonged to many organizations. Sometimes, her own children had to make an appointment to get on her busy schedule for lunch or dinner. Glady and Jack traveled as much as they could but were mostly involved in numerous local activities. After Jack passed away in 2014, Glady lived in the same house and drove (even after her license expired during COVID) until just a few months ago. Glady loved to talk, and going to a meal with her was like attending a one-woman show.
Glady had one of the most incredible memories for people of any age. She was blessed with great health until early 2023 and, even then, resisted home health care because it was interfering with her social schedule.
She was an adoring grandma to John’s two children, Lily and Simon. Brian would call Glady every day, and along with his wife, Roxanne, they would entertain Glady whenever she could fit them into her schedule. John and his fiancé, Heather, would travel from Sacramento and Cardiff often to spend time with Glady.
Her death, while tragic to her small family, is a reminder of a life well lived. She remarked when she turned 90 that as a small child no one lived to 90, yet she made it to 97. Just two weeks before she passed away, she celebrated her 97th birthday at her favorite restaurant, complete with a margarita, salad, steak, baked potato, and cheesecake. She had a strong faith in God and touched many lives over many years. She is smiling right now because she is reunited with her Jack.
There will be a memorial service at La Canada Presbyterian Church on November 4 at 10:30 a.m., with a reception to follow. Mom loved flowers, so flowers are most welcome.