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November 7, 2013

World War II survivor pays tribute

It isn’t very often that I get to do a piece about a 90-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, whom I’ve never met.

But there are exceptions, especially considering the fact he’s a World War II veteran and writes beautiful poetry about his military service.

Add to that the fact he’s an accomplished artist whose work captures celebrities like Cher and builds classical guitars that have caught the attention of virtuosos.

His name is Charles Garo Takoushian and he’s a credit to his generation. Moreover, Veterans Day happens to fall around his birthday and instead of seeing himself honored, he passes off the credit to his fellow soldiers -— The Greatest Generation indeed!

One other touch of irony: He happens to be very computer-oriented, and that’s how we met.

“I’ve been blessed in many ways,” he tells me. “Despite my age, I can’t sit still. I’ve always managed to keep busy and continue to lead a productive life.”

Takoushian first caught my attention a year ago when he sent along a painting he did on Cher in a most unique pose. He captured the singer-actress in a Madonna-like pose, cradling the Infant Jesus.

It might be something you’d find in a supermarket tabloid, hardly an artist’s studio in Arizona. Takoushian happens to be steeped in his Christian fate, especially after surviving a near-fatal mishap 26 years ago.

“As for the image of Cher as a Madonna, I thought — well — she is a Madonna,” he explains. “When I first saw Cher’s picture on the cover of a magazine, I felt there was a similarity to Madonna — and not the singer. When you get down to the reality of it all, who knew what the Madonna really looked like?”

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