BY SILVA KARAVARTANIAN
Recently the Manoukian family in Glendale lost a dear family member, a beloved husband and a caring father and grandfather. Hovhannes Manoog Manoukian entered into eternal peace on Thursday, January 16.
Born in Alexandret in 1926, he was the elder son of his family. His father Manoog, was his family’s only survivor of the Armenian Genocide in 1915. In 1939 the family moved to Lebanon, where little Hovhanness grew up, went to school and graduated from Nshan Palandjian Jemaran in 1948. He continued his education and became an engineer, working in a construction company. But his life was not always easy. He worked hard and helped his father to overcome poor living conditions. His devotion to his work helped him to build a great career and become one of the most appreciated professional engineers.
When the Lebanese war broke out in 1975, the Manoukian family, like many other Armenians, migrated to the United States and settled in Los Angeles, where he became an active member of the Armenian community. He contributed and supported charity activities, especially by providing financial aid to needy students. He was also a member of the compatriotic Union of Chork-Marzban (Deurt Yol). In 2012 he was honored by the Hamazkayin Cultural Association, with some of the Glendale community’s prominent Armenian figures.
His passion for his homeland incited him to relocate and settle in Armenia and visit his family in the States whenever he wished. In Armenia he purchased a piece of land in Griboyedov, Armavir region, near Etchmiadzin. He wished to plant wheat to send to the freedom fighters in Artsakh if war were to break out again. Hovhannes Manoukian willed his 109 hectare land in Griboyedov to the Hamazkayin Cultural Union and hence joined the benefactors elite.
In October 2011 he visited Beirut, Lebanon, and was impatient to see all the places and centers that revived his teenage memories, especially the Neshan Palandjian currently M. and H. Arslanian Jemaran and Aztag daily editorial offices.
He was proud of his family and the sons he raised. Raffi, the second of his sons, member of Glendale city council, was elected more than once as the city mayor and during his tenure as mayor, Glendale and Ghapan (in Armenia) were announced sister cities. He enjoyed making others happy. His friends knew of his generosity, work ethic and selflessness. He’s gone, but it’s only a shedding of the physical body. His soul will live on in his family and beloved ones. One cannot forecast his personal death, but at least can plot and pave his life-road with achievements he fulfils. Hovhannes Manoukian was an example.
He enjoyed writing, a hobby from his early teenage years at the Palandjian Jemaran. In writing poetry he found the best outlet to express his passion for his homeland and the beloved ones. He wrote several volumes of poetry under the pen-name Alakyaz. In recent years he worked on his autobiography entitled “My Life.” His memory will endure with us.
He is survived by his wife, sons and grandsons.