By Florence Avakian
NEW YORK — Dr. Edgar Housepian was legendary for his pioneering medical, humanitarian and compassionate works. A man who typified to the greatest extent the Hippocratic oath, he exemplified the best in humanity, and he performed these in his typically quiet, gentle and humble manner. On November 14, at age 86, Housepian died.
On February 14, more than 200 friends, colleagues and admirers came to St. Vartan Cathedral to pay their respects to his memory and vision, in a special tribute organized by the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR). Primate of the Armenian Diocese (eastern) Archbishop Khajag Barsamian in his inspiring eulogy, related the enormous contributions of Housepian to the Armenian Church, the Republic of Armenia, and the American community.
Housepian, the Primate stated, was heir to a remarkable family tradition through his parents Dr. Moses and Makrouhi Housepian who were “pioneers in humane outreach to our homeland in an earlier era. Their example inspired their son to excel in his profession, and to share his gifts with those less fortunate than himself.” And like his parents, he immediately volunteered his expertise when his countrymen faced the enormous tragedy of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia.
With “intrepid determination, Housepian joined the late Archbishop Torkom Manoogian and the late Kevork Hovnanian in creating the Fund for Armenian Relief following a “mission of mercy to our homeland just days after the tragedy,” related the Primate. “Even when the immediate crisis subsided, he was the “guiding light” in the effort to restructure the health care system in Armenia. Due to his legendary foresight, a new generation of Armenian physicians would enjoy opportunities for training and education undreamt of previously. His efforts made lasting improvements in the way people are cared for in Armenia. And here in America, he saved the lives of many who had never met him. He is an “example of the Armenian heritage at its best.”