Prof. Sona Aronian


AronianKINGSTON, R.I. — Sona Aronian died on November 17 after a long illness. She was 85.

She was Professor Emerita of Russian, Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island.

Aronian held a BA in comparative literature from Boston University and a PhD in Slavic languages and literatures from Yale. She taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania, and at the University of Rhode Island (URI), where she established and directed the program in Russian Studies and participated in the creation of the Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies Programs.

She did archival research in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Prague, and Paris on the Russian modernist writer Alexei Remizov with the support of grants from the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).

She served as contributing editor of a two-volume set of the Russian Literature Triquarterly devoted to the life and works of Remizov as well as a separate volume of his Selected Prose. She also presented papers on Remizov at several international conferences in the United States and in Russia.

In retirement she became engrossed in the study of the Armenian language, literature and culture. She endowed two book prizes for outstanding scholarly work in Armenian studies to be granted through the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research. She financed the construction of a state-of-the-art language lab at the Avedisian School in Yerevan, Armenia. She and her husband endowed a URI scholarship in music composition.

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Aronian was the daughter of the late Arusiag Opsoyan Aharonian and Arshag Aronian (Aharonian).

She is survived by her husband, Geoffrey Gibbs; a sister, Karen Beaver; a nephew, Hovannes Beaver; six nieces (Susan Sparling, Pat Opsoyan, Sharon Kehaya, Pamela Sparling, Marty Light and Nancy Cleveland), and her husband’s daughter Allegra Brunborg.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a graveside gathering on Saturday December 12, at 10 a.m. in the Old Fernwood Cemetery, Kingstown Road, (Rte. 138), Kingston.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.