NEW YORK — The Armenian-American community lost a dedicated, energetic member on October 27, at age 92.
Mary Voskeritchian Toumayan died of complications after cardiac surgery in New York City. To the end of a vibrant life, she promoted the causes she tirelessly and passionately advocated in the Armenian and International communities: Human Rights; the rights and advancement of women and children; aging, among others. To quote her: “We have to give something of ourselves or our rewards will be incomplete”.
Toumayan was born in Beirut, Lebanon to Genocide survivors Artin Jacob and Askanoush Voskeritchian who instilled in her the values of her heritage and exposed her to the arts, and love of nature. Immigrating to the US in 1946, she easily bridged the old country culture to the new one.
As wife of the late Samuel H. Toumayan (son of Rev. Haroutune Toumayan of Boston), Publisher and Editor of Nor Ashkar/The New World, she helped establish and managed the weekly bi-lingual newspaper. She was exposed to the issues of the Armenians here and overseas through her husband’s involvement in the community. She, herself, became active as a founder of The Women’s Guild, even before Holy Martyrs of Bayside was consecrated. She vice-chaired the Long Island Ladies Auxiliary. She also served on the executive board of The Daughters of Vartan who honored her, with others, for 50 years of service in 2007. She served on the Board of Directors of the Armenian Home for the Aged in Flushing. She chaired its Health & Welfare Committee and was active in the Family Council.
Speaking five languages, Toumayan launched her first career as administrative assistant to the Ambassador of Cambodia to the United Nations until Prince Sihanouk was deposed. She, then, started her tenure at the United Nations first in the Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization and then, UNICEF until retirement.