Category Archives: Obituaries

In Memoriam: George Bournoutian, Prolific and Dedicated Scholar

George Bournoutian (1943-2021)

BOSTON, MA – The National Association of Armenian Studies & Research (NAASR) joins with scholars and friends all over the world in mourning the passing of an esteemed colleague, Prof. George Bournoutian (1943-2021). While wishing to honor his stated wishes that no outpourings of sentiment follow his death, out of respect for his enormous contributions we offer this brief appreciation and extend our deepest sympathies to his family.

George Bournoutian was born and raised in Isfahan, Iran. Over the course of a long and productive career he published more than thirty books as author or translator which have been translated into many languages, and he taught at UCLA, Columbia University, Tufts University, New York University, Rutgers, University of Connecticut, and only recently retired after many years at Iona College.

Among his publications are The Khanate of Erevan Under Qajar Rule; A Concise History of the Armenian People; The History of Vardapet Arakel of Tabriz; Two Chronicles on the History of Karabagh; The Travel Accounts of Simeon of Poland; Jambr; The 1823 Russian Survey of the Karabagh Province: A Primary Source on the Demography and Economy of Karabagh in the Early 19th Century; A Brief History of the Aghuank Region; The 1829-1832 Russian Surveys of the Khanate of Nakhichevan; and Armenia and Imperial Decline: The Yerevan Province, 1900-1914.

George Bournoutian with Nancy Kolligian and Marc Mamigonian after a lecture in 2009

In addition to his writings, George was a prolific lecturer, giving innumerable talks including many for NAASR over the years in Belmont and all over the U.S. and Canada. He was also a world traveler and led NAASR’s first Armenian Heritage Tour in decades in 2006 to the Republic of Armenia and Historic Armenia.

In 2008, he enriched NAASR’s library immeasurably when he transferred his huge scholarly library, the Ani and George Bournoutian Collection, which has become a cornerstone of the Mardigian Library. NAASR, in turn, was proud to support his work through grants for several of his publications.

George Bournoutian with fellow 2006 NAASR Armenian Heritage Tour travelers George Krikorian, Nancy Kolligian, Judy Kolligian, Van Aroian, Mary Aroian, Bob Bejoian

Former NAASR Chairman Nancy Kolligian recalled that George “was an outstanding scholar who electrified the room when he entered it. I will remember going to Armenia and Historic Armenia with him on our 2006 NAASR trip—we had such a great time.” Current Chairman Yervant Chekijian remembered Bournoutian as “totally committed to the honest exploration of Armenia’s history

NAASR Academic Director Marc Mamigonian remarked that “George was warm, opinionated, unfiltered, brilliant, hilarious, and utterly indefatigable. He was always in the middle of a book project and excited about the next one. While it is difficult to accept that there will be no next book, no one can say that George Bournoutian didn’t get the most out of life, and he leaves an incredible legacy.”

Anyone who ever met George Bournoutian or heard one of his lectures could feel his energy and boundless vitality. Those qualities will endure in his huge scholarly output, which will continue to enrich us, and in our memories of him as a friend and a scholar. He will indeed be missed.

Armenian Assembly of America Mourns the Passing of Former Board Member Savey Tufenkian

Savey Tufenkian (middle) with her dear friends and fellow Assembly Board Members Elizabeth Agbabian (left) and Flora Dunaians (right)

Assembly Announces Endowed Internship in Her Memory

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) mourns the loss of longtime Assembly Trustee and Board of Directors member, Mrs. Savey Tufenkian.

A leading benefactor of the Assembly’s Summer Internship Program in Washington, DC, she and her husband Ralph contributed immensely to the program by establishing the Richard Tufenkian Memorial Fund, in loving memory of their son Richard, who was an Assembly Summer Internship Program alumnus. The Tufenkians regularly and thoughtfully supported the Armenian American community through a range of initiatives, including educational, cultural, and humanitarian endeavors.

Savey Tufenkian served with grace and distinction as a member of the Assembly’s Board of Directors during the 1990s. Along with then Assembly Board Members Flora Dunaians and Elizabeth Agbabian, Tufenkian was a dynamic force and spearheaded many Assembly initiatives, including the Assembly’s successful Galas in California. Savey and Ralph’s generosity and support throughout the diaspora and in Armenia and Artsakh was extensive and all-encompassing.

The Assembly recognized Ralph and Savey Tufenkian at the Assembly’s Gala in Newport Beach, CA in 2017 for their passion and dedication, especially with regard to the Assembly’s Internship Program.

“On behalf of the Armenian Assembly of America, we express our deepest condolences to her loving husband Ralph and members of her family, including their son and daughter-in-law Greg and Caroline Tufenkian and their children, as well as their daughter and son-in-law Sandra and Paul Kalemkiarian and their children and grandchildren. Savey’s commitment and philanthropic work for the betterment of the Armenian people was exemplary and will be sorely missed,” stated Assembly Board Co-Chairs, Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian.

“In her memory and honor, the Assembly is pleased to announce a new endowed internship, the Savey and Ralph Tufenkian Internship,” the Co-Chairs added. “This initiative will provide opportunities for Armenian American students for years to come, as Savey’s legacy continues throughout our community.”

In Memoriam: Connie Alchian

Connie Alchian (11/27/1925 – 7/12/2021)

BOCA RATON, FL – It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Connie Alchian (11/27/1925 – 7/12/2021), whose warm presence and friendly smile has been an integral part of our South Florida Armenian American community and St. David Armenian Church family for the last four decades. We will miss her greatly and we offer our sincere condolences to her entire family.

Unfortunately, Funeral Service has been CANCELLED due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Palm Beach County, FL.

The family of Connie Alchian announced the passing of 96 year old Connie Alchian on August 18. Connie is survived by her loving sister Rose Killian, her niece Lynn Abbate and husband William Abbate of Delray Beach Florida – and their family Ryan and Kariann, and Bill of New Jersey and New York respectively, and their 4 grandchildren; and her nephew Barry Tarzy and his wife Alice and their family – Tami and Joel Aronow, Scott and Pauline Tarzy, Jim and Barbara Tarzy, and Michael and Stacy Tarzy– and their 11 grandchildren all of New Jersey. Connie’s two brothers, John and Sargent both pre-deceased her.

Born in New Jersey in 1925, Connie attended both grammar school and high school there. Her father died when she was very young, and shortly afterwards she and her mother went to California on vacation to be with relatives. They decided to stay in California and it was there that Connie met Bob Alchian, and in time they were wed. Years later, Connie and Bob retired in Florida living close to her sister Rose and husband Leo. Connie and her sister Rose were inseparable, traveling together often, and especially in serving St. David’s Armenian Church as active members of the Church Women’s Guild. Her memory will live forever in our Church and wider South Florida Armenian family. May she rest in peace in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Upon the request of the family, donations may be made to:

St. David Armenian Church
2300 Yamato Rd.
Boca Raton, FL 33431