‘Memorial forest’ in Armenia planned for young couple who died

A young newlywed couple, Allen Yekikian, left, and Sose Thomassian, died May 10 in a car crash in the country of Georgia. The two, well-known in the Armenian community locally and abroad, had moved to Armenia earlier this year. An environmental group and a memorial foundation aim to plant 50,000 trees in their honor in Armenia.
(Arek Santikian )

An environmental group has agreed to plant up to 50,000 trees in Armenia as a lasting memorial to a Glendale couple who died in a car crash eight months after they were married.

Sosé Thomassian and Allen Yekikian died May 10 in a head-on car crash while on a weekend getaway in Georgia, Armenia’s neighbor to the north.

“The forest really represents life,” Areg Maghakian, director of Armenia operations for the Armenian Tree Project and a friend of the couple, told the Glendale News-Press.

For every “like” to the Armenia Tree Project’s Facebook page, the organization plans to plant five trees in a “memorial forest” for the expatriate couple. Thomassian, 30, and Yekikian, 28, had moved to Armenia after having a destination wedding there.


The project is a joint effort with the Sosé & Allen’s Legacy Foundation, a charitable organization that supports the couple’s values, including volunteerism and repatriation to Armenia.

Thomassian, who grew up in Orange County, met Yekikian through events hosted by the La Crescenta chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation.

As of Monday, the Armenian Tree Project had received more than 3,500 “likes” on Facebook.

Armenia currently has 12.5% tree cover and the Armenia Tree Project hopes to increase that to 25% over time, Maghakian said. Many of Armenia’s trees were cut down during an energy crisis in the 1990s.


“This will be a living, breathing memorial to Sosé and Allen,” said Vache Thomassian, Sosé Thomassian’s brother. “They will be making Earth more beautiful from heaven.”


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brittany.levine@latimes.comBrittany Levine is a Times Community News staff writer.