Katherine Berberian
Katherine Berberian

Obituary of Katherine Berberian

Katherine Araxe Berberian, (Apcar), passed away on December 31st in Santa Cruz, at her home surrounded by loved ones, at the age of 93.  She was born to an Armenian family in Yokohama, Japan on June 11, 1927.  Her father , Michael Apcar, owned and managed a business in Yokohama importing and distributing American motorcycles in Japan.  There were five children in the Apcar family, three girls and two boys.  Katherine was the youngest of the three sisters.  The family was part of an active and friendly community of Europeans and Australians living in Yokohama who socialized together.  English was their preferred language and American culture and movies were their preferred entertainment.

Katherine was enrolled ( graduated from) at the St. Maur Catholic Convent for girls in Yokohama, an institution which is thriving today as St. Maur International School.

As world War II began and evolved, the family's circumstances began to change.  Michael Apcar was incarcerated in a Japanese prison for two years for his membership as a mason, and the family had to carry on as best they could.  In 1944 and the beginning of the American bombing campaign the Japanese government ordered the community of non Japanese in Yokohama to an internment camp for the remainder of the war.  The Apcar family made the trip by train to the resort of Kurazawa which was requisitioned by the Japanese Government and turned into an internment camp, carrying their bags, their only possessions.  It was there that the Apcar family and the other families from Yokohama lived and waited for World War II to end.

World War II ended without incident for people in the internment camp and the American occupation forces arrived at the internment camp bringing food and other supplies.  Among those arriving by jeep was a 25 year old captain (United States Army) Harry Berberian who would become Katherine's future husband.  A difficult chapter in her life ended and a new, hopeful chapter began.

Katherine and Harry married in Yokohama on August 15, 1946.  They and the Apcar family moved to the United States, became citizens of the United States and started a new life in California first briefly in San Francisco staying with close relatives, and later in 1947 to Los Altos.  Our close relatives owned a summer house in Los Altos and the Apcar family moved there.  Katherine and Harry settled in Los Altos to be close to her family.

The Korean war began in 1950 and interrupted their lives when Harry was recalled into the U.S.  military and became , again, Captain Harry Berberian, United States Army, and served in combat in Korea.  When that war ended Katherine and children joined Harry in Japan in 1953 for a one year stay (his assignment).  They returned to their home in Los Altos.  There were other military assignments, such as a two year tour to Germany in 1960, but Los Altos always remained their home.

Katherine and Harry remained in Los Altos until 1999 (over 50 years) when they decided to move to Santa Cruz.  For years, her wish was to live by the ocean. They have lived happily in Santa Cruz.  Harry passed away in June 2006.  Katherine remained the matriarch and center of the family, devoted to three generations of family members. She absolutely lived for all of her children and just wanted to know that everyone was well fed and taken care of. 

She is survived by her four children, Michael Berberian, of Pocatello, ID, Richard Berberian of San Jose, Ca, Katherine O’Hare of San Antonio, Tx, and Margaret Berberian of San Jose, Ca. Four grandchildren, Michael Berberian of Santa Cruz, Ca, Lisa Kingsbury of Turners Falls, Ma, Megan O’Hare of Orlando, Fl , Ryan O’Hare of Melbourne, Fl and 4 great grandchildren, Ava Berberian of Santa Cruz, Ca, Evan Newsom of Orlando, Fl, and Waylon Kingsbury and Walker Kingsbury, both of Turners Falls, Ma


Due to the pandemic, private services were held at Spangler Mortuary on Friday, 01/08/2021. A celebration of Katherines life to come in the future. In her memory, donations can be made to Hospice of Santa Cruz.



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