Aso Tavitian

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Aso O. Tavitian passed away on April 21, 2020 after a battle with cancer with his wife, Isabella Meisinger at his side.

Tavitian was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 1959, after leaving Communist Bulgaria, he arrived in Beirut, Lebanon. After learning English from an Armenian English High School teacher in Beirut, he was accepted at Haigazian College on a full scholarship but couldn’t afford his living expenses and thought he would not be able to pursue his education when an anonymous benefactor altered his life. Tavitian later learned that his English teacher of minimal means made his education possible.

This act of generosity and kindness is one that he never forgot. Throughout his life’s journey, Tavitian was a model of integrity and decency. He approached every part of life with intellectual rigor but also with enthusiasm and a generosity of spirit. He was passionate about the arts and his heritage. He was loved and respected by all who knew him.

Aso Tavitian with former Primate of the Diocese of the US (Eastern) Khajag Barsamian

Tavitian attended Columbia University and graduated in 1965 with a Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering and in 1969, he co-founded Syncsort Inc. and was its CEO from 1975 until April of 2008 and continued to be involved with Syncsort at the Board level until 2015.

In 1995, he established and funded the Tavitian Foundation where his generosity and passions flourished. Always keeping his heritage close to his heart, he strived to strengthen the governance of the Republic of Armenia as well as providing educational opportunities for individuals of Armenian ethnicity. Tavitian supported research on issues of significance for a globalized world and his love of the arts.

His Foundation’s work on strengthening the governance of the Republic of Armenia includes the organization of a series of six-month special training programs for mid-level employees in various Armenian ministries and governmental institutions. These programs have been designed in conjunction with the faculty of the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and International Diplomacy and are taught at Fletcher. The pride in his work could not be more evident than when attending the student graduations. There have been close to 350 graduates of this program, Tavitian Scholars.

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Tavitian’s efforts were by the government of Armenia through the awarding of the Order of Honor on October 7, 2017 as well as the Prime Minister’s Medal in 2012. Tavitian was awarded Honorary Doctorates from Tufts University and Yerevan State University.

(To see a feature about Tavitian by correspondent Florence Avakian, visit https://mirrorspectator.com/2017/11/02/aso-tavitian-life-full-grace-giving/)

Tavitian was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Board of Trustees of the Frick Museum in New York, NY and the Board of Trustees of the Clark Museum in Williamstown, Mass.

He is survived by his wife, Isabella Meisinger; his stepdaughter, Natalie Barnett (Forrest Barnett); granddaughter, Annika; cousins, Anahid Tatcheva, Anahid Hatzigeorgiou (Aristotle Hatzigeorgiou); his godsons, Aris Hatzigeorgiou and Athan Hatzigeorgiou; cousins Philippe Ohanessian (Sylvia Ohanessian) and Jean Philippe Ohanessian. He was predeceased by his parents, Ohanes Garabed Tavitian and Armeno Mavi Tavitian and brother, Henry O. Tavitian and his first wife, Arlene Tavitian.

In a lengthy appreciation, former Primate of the Diocese of Armenian Church of the US (Eastern), a longtime friend, said, “In Aso Tavitian’s person I saw a great example how an Armenian today needs to be. He was patriotic but also religious. In his mind Nation and Church are united. He understood very well the role of the Armenian Church in the past, today and in the future. He was always ready to help and support Armenia and the Armenian Church. His very close and warm relationship with His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians has been great demonstration that besides the personal feelings towards Vehapar he was also a strong supporter of the Armenian Church hand its center, he Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin.

I saw my beloved good friend Aso during last November, at his town house in New York when I was accompanying His Holiness Karekin Catholicos for a meeting there with some other Armenian leaders. The discussion was “the Armenian Church in the 21th century”. This very timely and important project was led by Aso responding to Vehapar’s request. He was leading this project very passionately, because he was aligned with Vehapar to see a much better organized Armenian Church in this 21st century.

“We used to speak with each other on the phone regularly. About six months ago he called me giving the sad news that the doctors diagnosed him with cancer. He sounded optimistic and positive.

“Three days before his passing when I was speaking with Aso I reminded him the Easter celebration at St. Vartan Cathedral in 2011, when he became the godfather of the release of 12 doves on the plaza of the Cathedral following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. The release of the doves on Easter Sunday has been the great symbol of Christ’s Resurrection and through which the gift of eternal life given to us by God. Aso with a joyful voice responded to my reminder saying ‘Srpazan, we will do it again.’ I am sure Aso’s deep conviction of the life’s eternity and that spiritual connection and the loving, caring and sincere relationship remains always eternal.”

Aso Tavitian with religious leaders

A private service was held for immediate family members and a memorial service will be planned at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The American Red Cross towards the Coronavirus Outbreak fund https://www.redcross.org/ .  To send remembrances to his family go to www.finnertyandstevens.com

 

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