Community Benefactress Helen Mardigian Dies

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ROYAL OAKS, Mich. — Helen Mardigian, a stalwart supporter of many organizations within the Armenian community, including the Armenian Mirror-Spectator and the Tekeyan Cultural Association, died on August 4 here after a brief illness. She was 88.

Helen Mardigian, along with her late husband, Edward Mardigian, devoted her life to promoting the Armenian Church as well as culture. The couple left their mark around the world in supporting benevolent causes in the United States as well as Holy Echmiadzin in Armenia and the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Together they supported the construction and maintenance of churches, museums, hospitals, universities and community institutions.

When her husband died in 1993, Helen Mardigian’s strength of character, determination and spiritual conviction led her to continue and even expand, the family legacy. She had a special love for the younger generation and made extraordinary contributions — financial as well as personal — to ensure that they were educated in the traditions of the Armenian Church. The long-running Helen and Edward Mardigian Institute, the Eastern Diocese’s training program for Sunday School educators, is one fruit of her lifelong mission.

In Jerusalem, they founded the Edward and Helen Mardigian Museum of Armenian Art and History in a 200-year-old building that once housed the Armenian Patriarchate’s Theological Seminary.

Helen Mardigian was also a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), serving from 1991 to 2004. With her husband, who also served on NAASR’s Board, she was a major benefactor of NAASR throughout the 55 years of its existence.

The couple also supported the Armenian Research Institute at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, as well as the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Geriatrics Center and the Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital.

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A dahn gark (wake) service for Helen Mardigian was held at St. John Armenian Church (22001 Northwestern Highway, Southfield) on Tuesday, August 10. The funeral was held at the St. John Church on Wednesday, August 11.

Memorial donations in her name may be made to the “Edward and Helen Mardigian Library Endowment Fund” of the St. John Armenian Church.

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