Harry “The Horse” Kazanjian, the honorary captain for Lawrence Technological University’s return to football competition in 2018, died Sunday, Feb. 3, at the age of 90.
Kazanjian was the leading rusher for the football team of what was then the Lawrence Institute of Technology in the fall of 1946, its last season of football competition until 2018.
When Kazanjian’s son Roger read a newspaper story about Lawrence Tech bringing back a football team, Kazanjian was reconnected with the university. As the only known living member of the 1946 squad, Kazanjian was honored at the 2018 season opener Sept. 1, and flipped the coin for the game-opening coin toss at the Oct. 13 Homecoming game.
“Having Harry as a member of our team in 1946 and again as our honorary captain in 2018 meant the world to our team and our university,” LTU Athletic Director Scott Trudeau said. “He was truly a celebrity on our sidelines and his smile was magnetic.”
Added LTU Dean of Students Kevin Finn: “We were so happy to see Harry at all of our home games this year. The team and the fans loved it.”
Kazanjian attended Lawrence Tech for a single school year, 1946-47. When Lawrence Tech dropped football in 1947, Kazanjian transferred to the Detroit Institute of Technology, so he could continue playing. He earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from DIT in 1950, and went to work for Ex-Cell-O Corp. on a team that perfected the paperboard milk carton, replacing glass bottles. Then, he worked 30 years for Chrysler Corp. as an engineer and supervisor, mostly in projects to reduce the weight of vehicles to improve fuel economy, retiring in 1989.
Kazanjian was an avid golfer with a single-digit handicap, winning many Chrysler employee tournaments, and also enjoyed bowling and swimming. After retirement, he and his wife Margaret spent winters in Florida. At one point, they owned and rented out three Florida condominiums.
Besides his wife, survivors include sons Gregory and Roger, daughter Denise Williams, and sisters Julie Couyoumjian and Agnes Mezegian. He was preceded in death by his brother Jack.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. with a 7 p.m. prayer service at St. John's Armenian Church at 22001 Northwestern Highway in Southfield. A second visitation at the funeral home is set for Friday, Feb. 8 at 10 a.m. until the funeral at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.