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Dr. Yan Ghazikhanian
April 21, 1937 ~ July 29, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old
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Yan Ghazikhanian, a notable figure in veterinary medicine and an anchor of warmth and hospitality, peacefully passed away in his home in Sonoma, CA on July 29, 2023, at the age of 86. He left an indelible mark on both the professional community, and more importantly, the lives of those who knew him.
Born on April 21, 1937, in Andimeshk, Iran, Yan's drive for academic excellence took him from a small town to the University of Tehran, where he earned his DVM at the top of his class. His academic achievements didn't stop there; a scholarship brought him to the United States, where he pursued his MS and PhD in Microbiology and Comparative Pathology at the University of California, Davis.
Professionally, Yan's dedication was evident in his work. In 1972, he took up the responsibility of directing a mobile laboratory in Riverside, CA. Under the auspices of the USDA this lab was responsible for eradicating Velogenic Viscerotropic Newcastle Disease (VVND) from the Southern California poultry industry. He joined Nicholas Turkey Breeding Farms in Sonoma, CA in 1974 as a staff veterinarian, where he spent 33 years and officially retired as Vice President of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. It was during this collaboration that he solidified his reputation in the poultry industry.
Throughout his career he not only authored numerous technical articles, but also shared his expertise across the USA, Europe, and South America. His knowledge and experience in the turkey industry, together with his energetic spirit, made him a popular speaker and he was honored to give numerous technical presentations at industry trade and scientific association meetings around the world. Yan authored and co-authored many technical articles published in scientific journals and trade periodicals. He also co-authored the chapter of Mycoplasma meleagridis in Diseases of Poultry: Editions 9, 10, 11.
Yet amidst his academic and professional accomplishments, what truly defined Yan was his larger-than-life personality, his energy, and his unbounded warmth and generosity. As a host, Yan was unparalleled. He was the engine of every family gathering, ensuring everyone felt welcomed. He had a knack for seeing that those who crossed his doorstep felt like they were part of his extended family. His open-door policy welcomed everyone to a kitchen that was always humming. Whether it was a holiday feast or a simple get-together, Yan's priority was the same: you left his home with a warm heart and a full belly. His laughter, playfulness, and genuine interest in others turned brief meetings into lasting friendships, and brand new friends into lifelong family, leaving life-long impressions on those lucky enough to have known him.
In 1972 he found the love of his life, Cheryl, while studying at UC Davis, and their union blossomed into a loving family. Their journey together brought them to Sonoma, CA, where they raised their family, seeing the birth of their daughter Jenia, and son Stefan, extending to cherished grandchildren.
Yan Ghazikhanian's legacy is twofold – one of professional excellence and another of warmth, generosity, and kindness. He is remembered not only for his contributions to poultry medicine, but for the warmth, love, and energy he shared so freely. A Celebration of Life for Yan will be held on September 16th at the Vintage House in Sonoma, CA. The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, well-wishers make a donation to a charity of their choice in Yan’s memory.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Cheryl Ghazikhanian, his daughter Jenia Keating (Jeff), his son Stefan Ghazikhanian, and his five grandchildren, Liam Keating (20), Noah Keating (16), Mira Keating (14), Amelia Ghazikhanian (11), and Genevieve Ghazikhanian (8).