Potomac Falls, VA — Eli Takesian, former Chief Chaplain of the Marine Corps, died on May 20, 2014, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He was the beloved husband of Margaret B. Takesian. Born on February 28, 1932, in Methuen, Mass., he was the son of Stephan and Koharig Takesian, and uncle to many loved nephews and nieces. Eli is survived by a sister, Helen Hagopian. His brothers, Raffi, Jack and Vartkis predeceased him.
Eli served in Korea with the 1st Marine Division from November 1951 to November 1952. Following his discharge from the Marine Corps, he graduated from Baylor University in 1957, and continued his education at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Princeton Theological Seminary, receiving a master's degree in theology in 1960. The same year, Eli was ordained a minister by the United Presbyterian Church. After serving a pastorate in Amsterdam, Ohio, Eli returned to the military as a Navy Chaplain. Chaplain Takesian served two tours of duty in Vietnam and then spent 20 years as a senior chaplain, becoming Chief Chaplain of the Marine Corps at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. While in Vietnam in 1968, even though he was not assigned to the unit, Chaplain Takesian joined the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines Regiment, 1st Marine Division on the battlefield in Hue City - one of the most famous and bloodiest Vietnam War battles. Eli brought prayers, support and hope to the wounded and dying. In 2007, in his home town of Methuen, men of the 1st Battalion 5th Marines had a monument built in remembrance of his bravery. During his service in the military, Chaplain Takesian was awarded a number of combat decorations including the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars with Combat Vs and four Presidential Unit Citations. He retired from naval service in 1987, and became an associate pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Va., retiring in 1995. Until his death, Chaplain Takesian continued to provide ministerial services to military retirement communities and churches in Northern Virginia.
ARRANGEMENTS: Arrangements are pending for a memorial service in June 2014 at Falcons Landing in Potomac Falls, Va. Other memorial services will be held later. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.