Haroutiun Arzoumanian was born on April 24, 1935 in Cairo to Yeghia and Srpouhi Arzoumanian, both of Everek ancestry, as the fourth of six children. He attended the Kalousdian Community School of Cairo, whose principal was then Dikran Babikian, and graduated its secondary school division in 1952. He studied chemistry at the American University in Cairo, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1956. Continuing his studies, he directly went to the Medical Faculty of the American University of Beirut, which he graduated in 1964.

As an adolescent, he attended Cairo’s Armenian Artistic Union [Hay Kegharuesdasirats Mioutiun] and played an active role in organizing its youth movement, under the watchful eyes of Avedis Yapujian. He came to know the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) leaders Alexander Saroukhan, Eugene Papazian, Hampartsoum Karayan and Dr. Nubar Berberian. He began making corrections and editing for the Arev newspaper with the encouragement of Dr. Berberian. In 1956, he took the oath and joined the ADL with Hampartsoum Karayan as his sponsor.

He also taught one year at the Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus, under the tutelage of Principal Piuzant Yeghiayan.

To the New World

In 1964, Dr. Arzoumanian moved to Philadelphia, where his elder brother Very Rev. Fr. Zaven Arzoumanian, served as a clergyman. He studied Internal Medicine for two years in two different hospitals, and in 1965 was married in a service conducted by his brother to Sima Kotchounian, a nurse. The newlyweds moved permanently to Montreal, Canada, in 1966, where Dr. Arzoumanian became involved in the new field of nuclear medicine. Their three children were born in Canada: Zaven (who became an astrophysicist with a doctorate from Princeton University), Anahid (who obtained an MBA), and Yervant (who also became a physician, specializing in radiology).

Despite his substantial professional and family responsibilities, Dr. Arzoumanian became fully committed to the development of the relatively new Canadian-Armenian community, and thanks to his calm temperament, unsullied character, modesty and conscientiousness, he won great respect from all quarters. He first joined St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Cathedral’s Parish Council as a member, and then became its chairman. Later he became a Diocesan delegate when the Canadian-Armenian churches were part of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. He joined his friend of many years, Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, in the latter’s efforts to form a Canadian Armenian diocese with its own bylaws. When Catholicos of All Armenians Vasken I in 1984 proclaimed the creation of this new diocese by appointing Bishop Vazken Keshishian as its first Primate, Arzoumanian formed a part of its Diocesan Council.

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In the mid-1960s, the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) and the ADL Eugene Papazian Chapter had already been established in Montreal in a small center of their own. Dr. Arzoumanian, who was a member of both organizations, was elected a member of the executive and chairman of the ADL chapter, which ushered in a vibrant period with the support of both new members who had emigrated from Egypt and Lebanon and the existing members.

The rapidly growing Canadian-Armenian community in Canada felt the need for a newspaper. Therefore, again under the leadership of Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, and with the direct support of Edmond Azadian in Detroit, the Baikar Association in Boston, the ADL Eastern District Committee, and the TCA of the East Coast, Dr. Arzoumanian supported the publication of a trilingual weekly called Abaka, which saw its first issue in September 1975 by means of the efforts of Arsène-Noubar Mamourian, Vahe Ketli and Vartouhi Balian. Dr. Arzoumanian continued to contribute to the newspaper both administratively and editorially throughout his life.

Beyond his activities on a local level in Canada in the 1980s, Dr. Arzoumanian had responsibilities on a higher level. He was elected a member and then chairman of the ADL Eastern United States and Canada District Committee. In October 1991 this body celebrated the 70th anniversary of the ADL in Boston under the honorary chairmanship of Professor Parounag Tovmasian and the aegis of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), with Suren Fesjian as president. Speakers came from all over North America and even from Yerevan, while a film made by Berj Fazlian, “ADL’s Service to Our Nation,” was screened.

During the years of the Lebanese Civil War, when the ADL Central Committee was temporarily relocated to Montreal and a subcommittee of the Central Committee was formed, Arzoumanian became a part of that body, together with Maitre Hrachya Setrakian, Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, Edmond Azadian, and others.

He served for many years as president of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada, until he resigned that post in November 2016.

He is the author of numerous articles on current affairs in the Armenian press in both Armenian and English, and his Armenian-language book Nshmarner published in 1998, is an anthology of his weekly articles for Abaka under the same title.

In appreciation of his decades of accomplishments, the TCA Central Board named the hall of the newly constructed Tekeyan Center of Montreal the Dr. Haroutiun and Sima Arzoumanian Hall.

In Memoriam

Dr. Arzoumanian passed away after a long illness on December 26, 2021 in Montreal. Out of respect, the various Armenian flags in front of the Montreal Tekeyan Center will remain at half mast for one week starting on January 2. Funeral services will take place at St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Cathedral in Montreal on January 5 but due to covid restrictions as to participants, they will also broadcast live on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/3110967602564044/?ref=newsfeed) and are available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXgCpS8KYzY). Interment will take place at Saint-Laurent Cemetery.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Dr. Haroutiun Arzoumanian Abaka Fund (825 Rue Manoogian, St-Laurent, H4K 1Z5 Canada, or online at http://abakanews.org/donate/) or to the Alex Manoogian School (755 Rue Manoogian, St.-Laurent, H4K 1Z5 Canada).

Dr. Arzoumanian leaves behind his widow Sima Arzoumanian; Dr. Zaven and Sian Arzoumanian and children Ani and Matthew; Toma and Anahid Pinchis and children Julian and Anais; Dr. Yervant and Sytana Arzoumanian and children Lucas, Andreas and Christopher; Rev. Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian and Yeretzgin Joyce Arzoumanian; Makrouhie Artinian and family; Hagop Arzoumanian and family; Maro Pattoukian and family; Kaloust Kotchounian and family; and the entire Arzoumanian, Pattoukian, Kotchounian, Artinian, Mazmanian, MacAdam, Pinchis, and El Mubarak families.

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