Christine Derdarian, highly respected Metro Detroit attorney and women’s rights advocate, dies at 72

Christine passed away Sunday in her home

Christine A. Derdarian
Christine A. Derdarian (WDIV)

On Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, Christine A. Derdarian passed away at home.

Christine was predeceased in death by her mother, Mae Derdarian. She is survived by sister Heather Wilen, nephew Adrian Wilen, cousin Denise Chiroyan, family members and her beloved dog, ‘Cappi’.

Christine also leaves behind dozens of dear friends, whose lives will always be inspired by what a unique and wonderful woman she was.

A life-long Metro Detroiter, Christine graduated from the University of Michigan in 1970. She received her law degree from the Detroit College of Law in 1973.

At the start of her career, she worked as an attorney for the Michigan Department of the Attorney General. Her career at the Michigan’s A.G.’s office spanned over 25 years.

During that period, Christine’s many legal accomplishments were recognized and led to numerous promotions and increased responsibilities.

In 1985, Christine was elevated to the Attorney General Opinion Review Board, where she served in Attorney General Frank Kelley’s cabinet.

Christine retired from the A.G.’s office in 2002 and went into private legal practice, specializing in governmental relations, administrative law and licensing.

In 2018, after 45 years of practicing law, Christine decided to pivot her career, and she became the Executive Director of Manoogian Manor, a senior care facility in Livonia. Christine was a dedicated leader and fierce advocate for the elderly.

Beyond Christine’s accomplishments in the legal and business fields, she followed in her mother’s footsteps and was a well-known and highly respected leader for women’s rights issues. She was a longtime member of the Women’s Economic Club of Detroit (Inforum), serving as president in the mid-1980′s.

Christine was a founding member of the Michigan Chapter of the International Women’s Forum in 1985 and served as president from 1997-2004. She was a Board member of Spectrum Human Services, Michigan Women’s Studies Association, Detroit Institute for Children and a myriad of other community, state and national organizations whose work benefits women and girls

Christine’s brilliant mind, razor sharp wit, warmth, kindness and wisdom were all qualities that her family, colleagues and friends admired greatly. Friends and colleagues say she lit up every room she walked into and every life she touched.

Per Christine’s request, there will be no funeral, but a memorial service will be scheduled in the upcoming months.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Manoogian Manor -- c/o Christine A. Derdarian Fund, 15775 Middlebelt Road, Livonia, MI 48154 -- or to the Armenian Missionary Association of America -- ARTSAKH (amaa.org).