Ira Stepanian, Former CEO of Bank of Boston Courtesy photo

Banking Titan Ira Stepanian Dies


BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — Ira Stepanian died suddenly on February 13.

He is survived by the family he loved — his wife Jacquie, his son Philip, daughter Alisa, son Steven and his wife Kate, and his three granddaughters: Sophie, Charlotte and Elizabeth.

Born in 1936 in Cambridge, Mass. to Armenian immigrant parents, Stepanian graduated from Somerville High School and received a BA in economics from Tufts College and an MBA from Boston College Graduate School of Business Administration.

He began his banking career with Bank of Boston in 1963 as a management trainee and worked his way to chief executive officer in March 1987 and elected chairman in March 1989. During his career at the bank he headed the Energy, Transportation and Utilities lending Division, then spent two years in charge of the bank’s UK operations before returning to the US to head the bank’s overall commercial lending function prior to his elevation to CEO.

In 1993 the New England Council named him New Englander of the Year for his commitment and contributions to the field of banking and his leadership and impact on the New England region’s quality of life and economy.

He had been a director or trustee of numerous organizations including Intercontinental Real Estate, NYNEX (now Verizon), Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Common Angels, Brock Capital Group, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the International Monetary Conference, The Bankers Roundtable, Legal Sea Foods, TAD Resources International, General Chemical, and GenTek. He was a member of the Federal Advisory Council, Chairman of the Senior Advisory Council of New England Banking Institute and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and a Fellow of the Center for Business and Government at the Kennedy School, Harvard University. Ira was also a Trustee of Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts University, Boston Public Library Foundation, the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as Boston’s Museum of Science where he was chairman from 1996 until 2000.

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Stepanian was an avid sports player and fan. He played basketball for SHS and Tufts, and later enjoyed tennis and golf. He was a member of the Wianno Club, The Beach Club in Craigville, the Boston College Club, and the Colony Golf & Country Club. He loved all Boston sports teams and was a Celtics season ticket holder for 40 years.

A memorial service was held on Wednesday, February 22, at St. James Armenian Apostolic Church, 465 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown.

Topics: Obituary
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