Joe Kaliko: A Great Man Passed This Week, Harry Keleshian

harryLetter to the Editor:

A great man passed this week. A man I have known for only a short time!  Just getting to know one another.  My friend Harry!

Harry Keleshian was well known in Greenwich, long before I moved here in 2005. His obituary taught me about his businesses, real estate ventures, his philanthropy and love of the Armenian community.

We met a few times over the years in a passing fashion…a brief introduction by someone, a question like “Have you met Harry?”, etc.  Harry was memorable since his wonderful reputation preceded him. Me, I’m not so memorable or even sure he remembered me after a couple of 30 second introductions.

Then fate changed that a few months back.

I was upset with a broken bus stop bench at the top of Milbank Avenue. The bench broke under the weight of snow and was in disrepair since the winter of 2014/2015 , with police tape around it, by the number 11 bus stop.

Searching all over town, contacting the state DOT, etc., no owner could be found. I decided I wanted to repair the bench as a community betterment project via my charity, The Needs Clearing House, Inc.

In the course of getting the project going I learned Harry owned adjacent property and Harry’s property managers offered to work with me to get the job done….though not their property.

That’s how I got to know Harry.

First, we never talked one on one; but Harry offered to split the repair costs with me and provide the workmen. Together we fixed the bench.  It’s now used everyday and beautiful!  Afterwards we met to discuss my charity over two memorable breakfasts we had at the Glory Days Diner.

We communicated often by phone  and email these last few months as Harry and his wife Edna were in Florida for the winter.  Just last week we were all working together on a project to help a 7 year old Hungarian girl suffering from muscular dystrophy. Harry and Edna had experience successfully helping a young lady with MD from Armenia some years back; they were sharing that experience with me.

Our friendship, mine and Harry’s, was just beginning to blossom.  We were planning to get together with our wives when he returned from Florida.  Then our mutual friend Sam Romeo called earlier this week and shocked me saying Harry had passed.  We had just talked a few days earlier!

I only knew Harry briefly; but I already miss my friend.

Joe Kaliko