Walter Kaprielian

Ad Man, Boat Captain
Walter Kaprielian

    Walter Kaprielian, a retired New York City advertising executive, died on Sept. 5 at home on Wigwam View Lane in East Hampton. He was 79 years old and had kidney cancer, his wife, Dinaz Boga Kaprielian, said.

    Mr. Kaprielian was a talented graphic designer, creative director, and a nurturing teacher with an eye for recognizing and bringing out the best in his students, Ms. Kaprielian said.

    Starting his career as an art director at BBDO, he went on to hold senior positions at Grey Advertising and Ketchum, McLeod, and Grove, later Ketchum International, where he served as chief executive officer of its New York office.

    He went on to join Fearon O’Leary, a New York advertising firm, as a full partner and in later years was chairman and creative director of Kaprielian O’Leary Advertising.

    During his career he created campaigns for a variety of accounts, including Air France, Olivetti, Westinghouse, Japan Airlines, New York Air, New York Waterways, Air Jamaica, Cayman Airways, and the Cayman Islands. He won numerous awards for his work. He was also a consulting member of the marketing team at Geraldine Newman Communications, Newthynk, in New York.

    Mr. Kaprielian was the son of Armenian immigrants who escaped the 1915 massacres separately, his mother, the former Shoushan Der Barghamian, spending 10 years in an orphanage in Corinth, Greece.

    His father, Vartan Kaprielian, was rescued by an older relative and brought to the United States. His parents married in Cuba and settled in the Bronx.

    They had two children, Walter, born on June 2, 1934, and Sara. Their parents instilled in them a sense of belonging to a special group, and Armenia was never forgotten in the household, Ms. Kaprielian said. His father died at an early age, leaving Walter, then 13, with a sense of responsibility to support his family.

    Recognizing his interest in graphic arts, he worked his way through school, earning a degree at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, where he later taught advertising and graphic arts classes.

    In addition to serving on the foundation board of City Tech, he was a past president and a longtime member of the Art Directors Club of New York. In retirement, he joined his wife in volunteering for East Hampton Meals on Wheels and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Southampton Hospital.

    Fishing was Mr. Kaprielian’s lifelong passion. He had kept boats in Montauk over the past five decades. “The best fishing grounds in the world,” as he liked to say. His pride and joy was his 31-foot Bertram, the Bluebeard, which he kept docked in Montauk.

    Ms. Kaprielian said that to fish and live here was the realization of a childhood dream. “Why would you want to go anywhere else?” he would say.

    He was also a licensed charter boat captain and was the author and illustrator of “The Captain’s Cookbook,” a compilation of seafood recipes from charter boat captains all across America. Initially published by Holt, Reinhardt & Winston, he acquired the rights and the book is now in its fourth printing.

    Mr. Kaprielian married the former Julia Hachigian in 1957. She died of cancer in 1983.

    In addition to his second wife of 25 years, he is survived by three children, Dr. Victoria Kaprielian Luis of Durham, N.C., Siran Pirani of Rockville Centre, and John Kaprielian of Mahopac, N.Y., and four grandsons. His sister died before him.

    A funeral service was held at the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs in Bayside, Queens, on Sept. 10. He was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Queens.

    Donations in his memory have been suggested to the Southampton Hospital Foundation, 240 Meeting House Lane, Southampton 11968.