Knights & Daughters of Vartan to Honor Mathevosian, Toufayans

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NEW YORK — The Mid-Atlantic Knights and Daughters of Vartan will hold their Third Annual Awards Dinner on Saturday, March 27, under the auspices of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) at Kavookjian Hall here, with Prof. Dennis Papzian, PhD, serving as the master of ceremonies and the Akh’tamar Dance Ensemble providing the evening’s cultural segment.
The Lifetime Humanitarian Benefactor Award will be presented to Anoush Mathevosian and Harry and Suzanne Toufayan, three deserving figures in the Armenian community who have actively and continuously supported both their homeland and the Armenian Diaspora in countless ways.
Born in Egypt and the son of a baker, Toufayan, immigrated to the US in 1963 with his parents. He continued his family’s baking tradition by opening up his first plant in West New York, New Jersey in 1968. In 1973, Toufayan moved operations from West New York to North Bergen, NJ, where the business flourished over the next three decades. As Toufayan Bakeries continued to expand, Toufayan once again moved his business to its current location in Ridgefield, NJ where his plant now comprises 115,000 square feet and employs 250 people. Toufayan opened two more plants in Orlando, Fla. in 1985 and Plant City, Fla. in 2006, which combined, employ over 500 people.
Toufayan married his wife, Suzanne, a registered nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NY, in 1969 at Holy Martyrs Armenian Church in Bayside, Queens. They have three children, Karen, Kristine and Gregory — who are all involved in the family business — and seven grandchildren.
The Toufayans have been active and long-time supporters of Armenia and Armenian organizations. They funded the Youth Center in Echmiadzin and are the benefactors of St. Haroutun Church in Orlando — named after Harry Toufayan’s father — which will be completed in April 2010. They are also the major benefactors of an upcoming expansion of St. Mary Armenian Church in Livingston, NJ. In addition, the church hall at St. Mary’s is named after Toufayan’s parents. The Toufayans have also been supporters of the Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey program since its inception over 30 years ago.
Mathevosian was born in Iran in 1926, the daughter of a priest, and one of eight children. She immigrated to the US for her college education and received her nursing license in New York. Mathevosian then graduated from Teacher’s College at Columbia University and worked as a nurse for 16 years.
In the 1960s, Mathevosian started a successful real estate business with her sister. Over the years, she has supported Armenia in many ways. In 1997, she funded Camp Siranoush in Yeghegnadzor. The purpose was to have a campsite for children whose parents had died in the Karabagh war. In 2002, she built the Mathevosian School in Vanadzor, Armenia. She also started the Mathevosian Scholarship, in conjunction with the Fund for Armenian Relief, which provides scholarships to students in Armenia who want to pursue a college education.
In addition, Mathevosian has been a supporter of the Armenian-American Cultural Association and its humanitarian project in Armenia, the Armenian American Wellness Center. She has also been a trustee of the Armenian Assembly of America and Board Member of the Armenian National Institute, and a longtime supporter of the Fund for Armenian Relief.
Serving as master of ceremonies for the Awards Dinner will be Papazian, professor emeritus and founding director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He was also the founding director of the Armenian Assembly of America and is an active member of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) where he has served as a member and officer of the Diocese Council.
Entertainment for the evening will be provided by the Akh’tamar Dance Ensemble of St. Thomas Armenian Church in Tenafly, NJ. For tickets and more details, contact the Knights.

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