Iam John Ohanian 92 year old lawyer, part-time working lawyer for people to get social security disability benefits and Alexis Ohanian's (reddit cofounder) grandfather.
Alexis here: I'm typing this for my grandpa who's dictating to me. He's one of my heroes and I think you'll see why (and how fortunate I am to be here). Everything not in italics in this AMA are his words.
UPDATE: 2 hours in and my grandpa is done interviewing for today. Keep asking and I promise I'll ask him over the phone and reply later this week or next. Thanks, everyone! Grandpa is officially a redditor.
The families of my parents were orphaned when the Turkish government cleansed the Armenian population in central Turkey during the Armenian genocide. My mother was one of the refugees that marched out -- many died including her brother and sister -- through Turkey to Aleppo, Syria. My father's parents were murdered, in his presence, when the Turks stormed his town. A soldier on horseback was about to kill him with a sword when his friend told him to stop, because he was too young, and as only child, my father was then taken to an orphanage in Turkey and left there.
He first came to the US around 1920 and later he found that my mother was living in Aleppo -- they had been next-door neighbors and he brought her to the United States and they married soon thereafter. They had 4 children, 3 girls and a boy. I had one older sister and two younger sisters. I was the second child.
If I learned anything from my parents, it was to take care of yourself and your own needs and your family needs and that the family was the most important part of growing up.
I was born on Jan 12, 1922 in Binghamton NY.
I left when I was about 17 or 18 for one year at the College of William and Mary. WWII started, so a group of us volunteered -- about a dozen -- and joined the US Army. I spent 33 months in the Army after my first year of college and was discharged (came in as a private and left as an air cadet just months away from a second lieutenant as a flight engineer on a B-29). I was scheduled to go to Okinawa (I believe) when President Truman gave the order to bomb Hiroshima + Nagasaki. When that happened, I was told I'd be discharged and went back to W&M to finish my undergraduate and then took three years of law school there.
Around 1951 I got a job with the Federal Trade Commission in Washington DC as an attorney. When we were hired we were told only 1/3 would be kept after about the 9th or 10th month and would fire 2/3 of the 100 lawyers hired by the end. I spent 21 years with the FTC initially doing investigation and later trial work. I left in 1972, I believe, and came to LA to live and got a job with Social Security as an administrative law judge, whose function was primarily to hear cases for applications of disability benefits. I worked as a judge in West LA for a year and subsequently for 9 years in Long Beach. After a decade as a Social Security law judge I opened my own practice in downtown LA at where I represented people who claimed disability under social security.
I've now been working out of my home in private practice since 1982.
I might mention that my older sister, Vera, was a school teacher for many years. Starting in the lower grades and moving to NYC where she was a professor at a college that trained people to be teachers. My second oldest sister, Elsa, was a dental hygienist for many years, and my youngest sister, Mary, was a psychologist who counseled drug addicts in NY -- she died early due to cancer. All family members try to help each other. My older sister loaned me money when I needed it to buy a house and get started in life and I paid her back.