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Projects & Programs

Alex and Marie Manoogian to be Interred in Holy Etchmiadzin

On July 13, the earthly remains of Alex Manoogian, National Hero of the Republic of Armenia, Life President of the Armenian General Benevolent Union and national benefactor of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, along with those of his wife, Marie Manoogian, will arrive in the homeland via the Paris – Yerevan flight. They had previously been interred in Detroit, Michigan (U.S.A.).The interment service of the renowned Armenians will take place in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin on July 17 at 10:00 AM, at which time the remains shall be committed to the earth in sight of the Treasury Museum built through their sponsorship. ALEX MANOOGIAN AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE Mr. Alex Manoogian, considered by many to be the chief Armenian community leader and philanthropist in the United States and throughout the Diaspora, was born in the region of Smyrna (Izmir), on the coast of Asia Minor, in 1901. With economic chaos, political and personal danger for Armenians in Turkey, young Alex decided to emigrate to the United States in 1920 – just two years before the destruction of Smyrna by the Turks. He arrived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he found various factory jobs to earn a living. Escaping the genocide, his parents, Tacvor and Tacoohie Manoogian, his brothers Charles and George and sisters Margaret and Aghavni joined him in later years. After living in several cities in New England, he made Detroit his home in 1924. Gaining experience in an auto parts manufacturing plant, he founded his own company in 1929, which was to grow into the multi-national Masco Corporation with annual sales of over $3 billion. Although the depression years were hard, by 1936 Mr. Manoogian’s company was large enough to be listed on the stock exchange, the first company owned by an Armenian to be so listed. In 1931, he married Marie Tatian in New York, a woman of artistic talents, and they soon were blessed with two children – Louise (Simone) and Richard. Mr. Manoogian now has six grandchildren and five great grandchildren. The late Mrs. Marie Manoogian was a constant companion, joining her husband in his activities and projects until her death in 1993. Mr. Manoogian joined the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the Knights of Vartan in the 1930s. By 1940 he was elected National Commander of the Knights, and in 1953 he was elected to the Central Board of Directors of the AGBU serving as International President, a post which he occupied with honor for 36 years. During his leadership, AGBU capital funds were raised from $8 million to over $50 million, with total assets reaching $120 million. Mr. Manoogian was voted Life President in 1970 by a grateful General Assembly and in 1989 elected Honorary Life President. As a dedicated citizen of the United States, Mr. Manoogian contributed generously to American hospitals, museums, libraries, universities, schools and other charitable and cultural organizations. He donated his former mansion to the City of Detroit to be used as an official residence for the Mayor. Thanks to his magnanimous contributions, a number of Armenian institutions came into existence throughout the Diaspora: Armenian schools and centers in Southfield, Michigan; Buenos Aires and Cordoba, Argentina; Los Angeles and Pasadena, California; Montreal and Toronto, Canada; Teheran, Iran; Montevideo, Uruguay; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Beirut and Zahleh, Lebanon; Almelo, Holland; Paris, France; and Sydney, Australia; all under the auspices of the AGBU. He was the major benefactor of St. John’s Armenian Church, Cultural Center and Museum, Southfield Michigan, the Treasury of Armenian Antiquities at Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia, St. David’s School in Boca Raton, Florida, the Alex and Marie Manoogian Seminary in Jerusalem, Israel, and the Tacvor and Tacoohie Manoogian Retirement Manor in Livonia, Michigan. Through the years, he contributed generously to programs in Armenia, the Eastern, Western and Canadian Armenian dioceses of North America and the Mekhitarist (Catholic) Monasteries in Venice, Italy and Vienna, Austria. In appreciation of his major contributions, Wayne State University in Detroit named its Ethnic Heritage Center as the Alex Manoogian Hall. He made a significant contribution to the University of Michigan to support the Gerald Ford Library and to establish two chairs dedicated to Armenian studies-the Alex Manoogian Chair for Modern Armenian History and the Marie Manoogian Chair for Armenian Language and Literature. He contributed substantially to Armenian studies programs and chairs at the University of California, Columbia University in New York, New York University, University of Massachusetts, University of Boston, University of Leiden, Holland, University of Southern California and Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts. Throughout his life, Mr. Manoogian has been acknowledged as the biggest national benefactor, who contributed millions of dollars to charitable, religious, cultural and educational causes. In recognition of this philanthropy, Mr. Manoogian was awarded: Ellis Island award from NECO and Knight of Charity award from PIME Missionaries; Presidential medal from Argentina; the Cross of St. Gregory the Illuminator by His Holiness Vasken I, the Catholicos of all Armenians; the First Order of the Cedars by the President of Lebanon; the Cross of St. James by his Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem; and the 50th Anniversary Medal by the Prime Minister of Armenia. Levon Ter-Petrossian, the First President of the Republic of Armenia, awarded him the honor of National Hero, as well as citizenship of Armenia. The President of Nagorno-Karabakh bestowed upon him the Medal of Honor of Artzakh. Mr. Manoogian is the recipient of Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Yerevan State University in Armenia. The prominent philanthropist also served as Deacon at the Armenian Church.

 
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