German D. Tchernoivanov (1925-2010)

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German Tchernoivanov
Born: 1926
Died: 5 Jul 2010 Gilbert, Arizona
Siblings: German D. Tchernoivanov
Children: Victoria Tchernoivanov
Milena Tchernoivanov
Spouse: Terri Lynn Spencer

German Tchernoivanov was born December 4, 1925 in Russia. As a youngster growing up in Russia, German wanted to become a student of the law. But World War II began in 1939, and in June, 1941, Russia was attacked by Germany. German dropped out of law school and became a fighter pilot for the Soviet Air Force as a teenager.

Following the war and lucky to be alive, German began studying piano at 25 and eventually became a professor of music at the Moscow Conservatory of Music. He regularly taught Western values to his students. This aroused the suspicion of the KGB, which started to keep track of German and his "subversive" activities.

He was arrested and convicted on charges of showing Western movies such as "The Godfather" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest", considered pornographic by Soviet officials, and eventually sentenced to three years in a prison camp in Siberia.

A year after his release from prison, German applied to immigrate to the United States. After his arrival in this country, unable to speak English and weighing only 95 pounds, German held down five menial jobs, including cleaning toilets.

One day, German was asked if he could play the piano. His answer, of course, was "Yes," and that was the beginning of doing what he always had enjoyed. He played the piano for tips and after awhile, he was able to buy a piano. That was the turning point in his American profession as a pianist.

German began teaching a young woman to play the piano and within one year, she became his wife and manager. He composed a song in her name which he called "Waltz Terri." Later, he wrote another song dedicated to the land of the free which he called "Joy of Life."

German was a very proud American citizen. When asked how he liked living in America, he would go to his piano and play "America The Beautiful." He was also a very talented accordionist and an active member of the Arizona Accordion Club.


The Arizona Republic, July 2010:

Tchernoivanov, German

German Tchernoivanov, 84, of Gilbert, AZ passed away on July 5, 2010. He is survived by his loving wife, Terri, and his two daughters, Victoria and Milena. A celebration of his life will be held Sunday, July 11, 2010 from 6-9:00 PM and a memorial service will be held Monday, July 12 at 9:00 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 777 E. Elliott Road, Gilbert, 85234, SW corner of Lindsey and Elliott. Meldrum Mortuary handled the arrangements.


  • Birth variant: 1926 [The Arizona Accordion Club]
German D. Tchernoivanov
Birth Date: 4 December 1925
Death Date: 5 July 2010
Social Security Number: 522-75-4165
State Where Number Was Issued: Colorado