By Hagop Vartivarian
NEW YORK — Alexander Ara Dadourian was an offspring of the celebrated Dadourian family. Born on April 14, 1933, in Brooklyn, he was the son of Armenian benefactor Dadour Dadourian and his wife Elise. He grew up with his three brothers, Haig, Thomas and Peter, in Forest Hills, a neighborhood of the borough of Queens in New York City. In 1961, he married Virginia Demirjian of Providence, Rhode Island, and in 1966 the couple move to Manhasset, Long Island, where they had five children, Lynn, Stephen, Gregory, Elise, and Alexandra. Alexander thus created a large family, which is something unusual for current American mores. This was a gift for Armenians, enriching their ranks with his five children.
A graduate of Blair Academy, Alex Dadourian went on to graduate from New York University’s Stern School of Business. After serving two years in the US army, he returned to join his father’s manufacturing business. Later he assumed the responsibility for the family’s real estate operations in New York City, where together with his brother Haig, he achieved remarkable commercial success, especially in the expensive neighborhoods of Manhattan.
His unreserved participation and interest in the Church of Armenia never flagged from adolescence onwards. He became a permanent presence in both New York’s St. Vartan Cathedral, the headquarters of the Armenian Diocese, as well as in his parish church, Bayside’s Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs. He tried to introduce conditions acceptable for the new generation of Armenian-Americans in the church without growing distant from our traditions.
He became a part of the Gullabi Gulbenkian Foundation and was always a close friend and colleague of its president, Edward Gulbenkian.
He visited Aleppo’s Gulbenkian Maternity Hospital to become informed about the state of its finances and the conditions of medical care there. He sharpened his focus as an Armenian dedicated to education greatly after the independence of Armenia, and he provided help to 27 schools and educational centers in Armenia.