Louise Manoogian Simone

Louise Manoogian Simone, Benefactor, Longtime AGBU Leader, Dies


NEW YORK — Louise Manoogian Simone died at the age of 85 on February 18. She had dedicated her life to civic leadership, philanthropy and was first and foremost passionate about the promotion of Armenian culture and heritage.

Most who knew her will remember her as an intelligent, outspoken and witty woman who strived for excellence in herself and others.

She was born in Detroit to Alex and Marie Manoogian. Her father, Alex, an Armenian immigrant who had left Turkey after the Armenian Genocide, developed the Delta company single-handed faucet and went on to become one of America’s leading industrialists as the founder of MASCO corporation. Upon achieving business success, he used his resources to work tirelessly for the benefit of the Armenian people worldwide.

Louise Manoogian Simone in Armenia in 1988

Louise inherited her parents’ passion for Armenians, which led her to follow in her father’s footsteps and serve on the board of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to upholding Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian projects. In 1982, she made her first trip to Armenia, then still a Soviet republic. She quickly fell in love with the country and its people and over the next few years, returned frequently, bringing others with her.

Her brother, Richard Manoogian, joined her in supporting a number of projects in Armenia.

In 1988, after a devastating earthquake hit Armenia, she was on the first US cargo plane delivering relief supplies and rescue teams to the disaster area. She spearheaded the disaster relief on behalf of the AGBU. An iconic picture of her standing in the ruins near the epicenter of the quake is remembered by many affected by the disaster.

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In 1989 she was elected the international president of the AGBU and began directing operations in 31 countries and 74 cities. She opened an office in Yerevan and when Armenia became an independent country, she, through the AGBU and her own resources, focused efforts on re building a newly-independent homeland.

She was a charter board member and major benefactor of the American University of Armenia in Yerevan.

After a million miles traveling the world to oversee operations and projects, in 2002 she retired as president of the AGBU. However, she continued her charitable efforts through the Manoogian Simone Foundation, working with, among others, the Armenian Apostolic Church, reconstructing and maintaining hospitals, schools and children’s and cultural centers and historical monuments.

She was also a significant supporter of the arts and many artists.

She was a great benefactor to American universities, museums and cultural institutions, including the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

She received many honors throughout her life, among them the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

She leaves a daughter, Christine, and two sons, David and Mark.

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