Karl Vahe Sarajian Wednesday, December 28, 1960 - Monday, May 22, 2017

Karl Vahe Sarajian, 56, of Lompoc, died on May 22, 2017 surrounded by the love of his family and friends.
Karl was born in Fresno, CA on December 28, 1960 to Karnig and Seta Sarajian (Yeramian). He attended Fresno schools, graduating from California State University, Fresno with a BS in Electrical Engineering. After his college graduation, he took a 2-week temporary job with McDonnell Douglas at Vandenberg AFB, which was the beginning of a 30-year career in the aerospace industry. He spent the majority of his career working on the Delta II and IV programs, for Boeing and ULA (United Launch Alliance) in addition to McDonnell Douglas. Most recently he was employed by the Aerospace Corporation as a Senior Project Engineer.
Karl’s interest in rockets began at an early age when he began watching the Star Trek TV series. His path to an engineering degree began when he bought an off-the-shelf rocket model kit which ultimately resulted in a fire in his bedroom. An education in engineering was a good way to prevent future mishaps. He put a lot of value on reading and following instructions, double checking, and finding root causes for problems.
Karl approached his work with fairness, a strong sense of ethics, and professionalism. He willingly took on the role as a mentor to others, supporting them on their paths to reaching their professional objectives.
Karl was a collector of comic books for many years. His greatest fear was that after his death his wife would sell them all at a garage sale for a nickel a piece. We are sure he’s happy knowing his children have taken care to properly store his collection in a safe place. He loved attending the San Diego Comic Con every summer, watching the old Dark Shadows TV series, listening to music by Styx, repairing computers and other types of equipment, and snuggling with his dog, Dax, on the couch. Most of all, he loved his family and friends unconditionally, and spending time among them was his joy and priority.
Karl had a strong faith in God, seeking to live in the present with integrity, honesty, and love. He trusted God to see him through all of life’s joys and challenges. Throughout his 14-month battle with pancreatic cancer he never stopped living or giving up hope, always finding joy in the moment. Karl lived the words, “Be kind, love unconditionally and hold onto your faith even in your darkest hour.”
Karl is survived by his wife of 27 years, Mitzi Sarajian. He is also survived by his daughter, Kylee, and son, Jared; brother Theodore Sofianides; nieces Angela Elia, Jennifer, Christie, and Morgan Dragan; nephews Kevin Elia, Kellen, Rick, Mike, and Joey Dragan; and lifelong friends Milt Medeiros, Ron Medeiros, Dan Evans and Ed Lujano.
Karl was preceded in death by his daughter, Kaela Sarajian, his parents, his stepfather, Avraam Sofianides, and his sister, Karla Elia.
A Rosary will be held Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at Dudley Hoffman Mortuary in Santa Maria.
The Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, June 9, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Louis de Montfort Church in Santa Maria. A reception will follow (12:00 – 4:00 p.m.) at the Santa Maria Country Club. Inurnment at the Dudley-Hoffman Memory Gardens will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

To the family, friends, co-workers and all others who's lives were touched by Karl Sarajian, I offer the most profound and heart-felt condolences upon the passing of this great man.

I've had the distinct pleasure and deep honor of being a co-worker with, and a customer of, and a friend of this gentle, kind and amazing man for many, yet far too few years. His ready smile, hearty laugh and encouraging countenance buoyed and propelled me forward more times that I can count, in the sometimes challenging rocket launch business. No matter how difficult the situation, or how tense the events going on around him, Karl knew how to deal with the situation both technically and personally to get back on track, which he did with intelligence, wit and humor.

I've worked for 40 years in the launch business, in many different capacities, organizations and companies, and Karl Sarajian has been and always will be my benchmark for technical, professional, and managerial excellence. I would not be where I am today without his patience, help and guidance. There have been none better in solving problems, team building, or getting the job done. There are many payloads in space right now, expanding the frontiers of science, keeping us connected, and keeping us safe directly because of his efforts.

We have shared a love of both science and science fiction over the years. Karl is the only person I've ever known with the commitment to actually wear his "Spock Ears" in the workplace. You have to admire that level of devotion to boldly going where no man has gone before. With that commitment in mind, I'd like to close my thoughts about Karl with this one line, and I share it with great love, respect and honor for a man I will miss greatly going forward in my own adventure.

"Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was most human..."


I am so sorry that you and your family had to go through this lose. Karl was a fantastic person and will be missed by so many.To young and to soon.

I understand your greaf and sadness, and if you need to talk with someone who understands, I'm always available to listen. May God give you peace and comfort.



Karl, You were one of the sweetest and most caring people I ever had the pleasure of working with.  I am saddened to know you are no longer physically with us but your spirit and smile will forever be with us.  Rest easy my friend. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your children. What a tough Journey your family has been on. Life is full of twists and turns and long Journeys. May Karl rest in peace.

Mitzi, Kylee and Jared,
Know that we are with all of you in thoughts and prayers. Karl, as all of you have held a special place in our hearts.

Years (decades) ago at Mc Donnell Douglas, working with Karl, his approach to work with fairness, a strong sense of ethics, and professionalism were evident to me.  I recognized Karl's face as I flipped through my newspaper and found myself reading the obituary that contained those words.  These are not just complimentary words, they are true and accurate descriptions.  Karl was absolutely one of the good guys.  Our paths crossed again briefly when Kylee was one of my students, and all I sensed about his place in his family is confirmed in the words I recently read.  My condolences.

Mitzi and family there are no words  to discribe this unbelievable loss your suffering right now. You were a beautiful couple and beautiful family. Please God comfort them... Karl will be missed by all who's paths crossed with his he was such a gentle man Sheila Norris

Mitzi, I was shocked to hear of Karl's passing.  I still have fond memories of working with him at SLC-2, one of the engineers you could really count on.