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In Memory of Vartan "Ward" Francev

In Memory of Vartan "Ward" Francev

Vartan Francev was born to Kalust and Nina Francev on May 7, 1947 in Stuttgart, Germany. He passed away peacefully on August 6, 2023 in Whittier, California.

Along with fellow Armenian Displaced People in the Funkerkazerne Camp, Ward came to America with his parents, landing at the Port of New Orleans on November 6, 1949. Upon leaving New Orleans, the family settled in Los Angeles along with many fellow DPs.

Ward attended Cal State Los Angeles where he pursued a degree in Industrial Arts education. He taught at El Sereno Middle School from 1969-2009. The vast majority of his career was spent teaching drafting and art. Additionally, he taught auto shop in the evenings at Montebello High School from 1987-2009.

In 1973 he met the love of his life, Margaret (Margie), and they were married in 1974. Soon after they settled in Whittier where they set roots. In 1978 they welcomed their first son, Peter Karl. In 1981 they welcomed a second son, Matthew George.

From a young age Ward had a passion for cars and drag racing. While a fierce competitor, Ward was also the consummate sportsman, which earned him the admiration and respect of fellow drag racers.

After retiring from teaching, he promptly built his 1940 Ford pick-up which was his daily driver, as he quickly became a beloved volunteer docent at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Becoming a part of the Petersen Family allowed Ward to combine his love of cars and education, where he led school tours and automotive workshops on a regular basis.

Never one to sit still, he always had a project going. When not drag racing, Ward enjoyed fishing and camping in the Sierras with family and spending time with his grandchildren.

Ward is survived his wife, Margie, his sons Peter and Matthew (Brooke), his five grandchildren: Katherine, Michael, Austin, McKenzie, Emma; his brother Ozzie (Ethelyn), his sister Alice (Vars), nieces and nephews: Natali, Garren, Sarah, and Jason.


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