Former chaplain, pastor, dies at 89

Reverend William G. Kalaidjian was a chaplain and a pastor for over 40 years.
Photo courtesy of the Bronx Rotary Club

A former NYPD chaplain and church pastor has died.

On Friday, January 16, Reverend William G. Kalaidjian passed away at his home in Riverdale, reportedly from natural causes. He was 89 years old.

Kalaidjian, an Armenian-American who was born on December 17, 1925 in Nyack, NY, attended Nyack High School before graduating from Adelphi University and the New York Theological Seminary.

After serving in the Navy during World War 2, Kalaidjian became the pastor the Congregational Church of Bedford Park in 1953, where he served for 42 years until 1996.

However, Kalaidjian is probably most remembered for being the NYPD chaplain, a position that he also held for 42 years, from 1957 to 1998, after he was a police officer in Nyack.

Throughout his tenure, Kalaidjian was responsible for spiritual well being of the police department and its police officers.

Kalaidjian was greatly involved in other organizations as well. He was a founding member and the executive director of the New York State Shields, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a chaplain for the Bronx Veterans Hospital and a volunteer chaplain for the Veterans Administration. He was also the president of the Bronx Rotary Club from 1987 to 1988, an organization that he was a member of for over 50 years.

“He was a very intelligent and outgoing person,” said Virginia Gallagher, who interacted and worked with Kalaidjian when she served as vice president of the Bronx County Historical Society. “He was great to work with, and I am greatly saddened by this loss.”

To those who knew him, Kalaidjian was a icon for his city and community involvement. To his friends and family members, he was so much more than that.

“He was the most wonderful person I had ever met,” said widow Valerie. “I’m still in shock over his loss – I just can’t believe he’s gone.”

Kalaidjian’s wake was held on Wednesday, January 21 at the Williams Funeral Home, 5628 Broadway, and services were held on Thursday, January 22 at St. Philip Neri Church, 3031 Grand Concourse. An interment followed the services at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Kalaidjian is survived by his wife, three sons, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at sgood‌stein‌@cngl‌

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