When American-Armenian author William Saroyan died in Fresno, California, he had an unusual request. He wanted his body cremated, with half of his ashes buried in Fresno’s Ararat Armenian Cemetery and the other half in his homeland of Armenia.
You can, therefore, find Saroyan’s grave at the Komitas Pantheon of Yerevan, among the greats of the Armenian art world. Although the writer lived his life during the Cold War, with Armenia behind the iron curtain, he visited the country and maintained friendships with some of Soviet Armenia’s artists.
In 1991, this American-Armenian winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award was honored with the one and only joint stamp ever issued by the United States and the Soviet Union. His self-penned epitaph states: “In the time of your life, live – so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world but shall smile at the infinite delight and mystery of it.”