John H. Garabedian

John H. Garabedian

Died September 22, 2014

John prepared for Yale at Center Senior High School in Kansas City, MO, resided in Saybrook and was an Intensive English major. He was a senior columnist for the Yale Daily News and a member of Manuscript. After Yale John was hired by the New York Post as a news reporter. He was quickly recruited by Newsweek magazine; and he became their youngest editor, writing and editing news articles. John covered a wide range of news stories, many dealing with the New Age Hippy generation. He interviewed and wrote about everyone from Jackie Kennedy to Judy Garland, Malcolm X, Ray Charles, and leading hippy culture celebrities such as Abbie Hoffman and Timothy Leary. John became famous in the news industry for breaking the Woodstock story for Newsweek. He also authored three books dealing with drugs and the Eastern religions.

Upon leaving Newsweek, John moved back to his hometown, Kansas City, MO, and began a 26-year career as an editor for the prestigious United States Army Command and General Staff College, later moving to the Military Review, the Army’s cutting edge forum for debate on the art and science of land warfare, where he served as an editor for eight years until he retired in 2013.
John passed away on September 22, 2014, survived by his wife of 29 years, Danna K. Howard Garabedian, three stepchildren and two grandchildren.

His favorite quote: “It Is What It is!”

Charles Dillingham remembers: John Garabedian was a force of nature. I met him when we were both inducted into Manuscript, spring of junior year. Among his many lovable eccentricities was a habit of quoting long sections of Tennessee Williams’ over-the-top dramatic poetry – he loved the stuff.

He, my roommate Pete Axthelm and I were all hard drinkers, so we quickly fell in with each other. We led many boozy nights at Manuscript, including one which culminated in burning the Society’s collection of books by former members in a back yard bonfire. Another of John’s drinking bouts led to his being rusticated from Saybrook College for a week. When I discussed the incident with Basil Henning, Saybrook dean, he said he had never seen anyone so drunk, even during the war.

John was a popular columnist at the Yale Daily News, always attempting to be as outrageous as his editors would allow. Using his column as a podium, he led a major campus protest against the denial of tenure to a very popular philosophy teacher – one night marching into Manuscript saying, “I find myself at the head of a mass movement!” Of course it came to naught.

After his experience at the News, he was a perfect person to join the hard drinking crowd of new journalists in New York, such as Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin. Axthelm helped him get hired at Newsweek where he soared for a while, but finally crashed in an excess of booze and who knows what else.

I lost track of him then, but a while ago, I was able to located him in the information office of a government agency in Kansas. I could not immediately find a way to contact him, and then decided this was no longer the John Garabedian I had known, and gave up the search. I started again while preparing my entries to this book, but the first page on Google included his obituary. I was too late.