GLENDALE—Long-time community leader and benefactor Hacop M. Baghdassarian, whose contributions to community organizations and to educational and relief projects in Armenia and Artsakh became emblematic of his generosity, passed away on Tuesday morning, September 19th.
Baghdassarian’s decades-long and storied efforts in advancing Armenian education, culture and the just aspirations of the Armenian Nation both here in the United States and in Armenia, Artsakh and Javakhk made him an exemplary Armenian and a passionate humanitarian who, with humility and dedication, has changed many lives due to his generosity.
In March, Baghdassarian and his wife, Hilda, were honored and recognized for their service in the community by the Armenian Cultural Foundation and Baghdassarian was named ACF Man of the Year.
Baghdassarian’s contributions to varied organizations earned him numerous accolades from the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region, the Armenian Relief Society, the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Educational Foundation, through whose programs he rebuilt schools and cultural facilities in Armenia, Artsakh and Javakhk.
His contributions have enabled the Vahan and Anoush Chamlian school to be endowed with a state-of-the-arts gymnasium, Armenia’s and Artsakh’s rural village to have top-notch schools and cultural centers and the ARS to advance its activities in Javakhk and the ANCA to advance its pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
In 2016, during a pontifical visit to Los Angeles, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia bestowed the “Prince of Cilicia” medal to Hacop and Hilda Baghdassarian.
Baghdassarian was born in Tehran, Iran on March 30, 1948 to Petros and Marous Malek Baghdassarian. He grew up in Tehran with his four sisters – Nora, Emma, Rima and Asieh. He attended Kooshesh Armenian School in Tehran until the age of fifteen when his father Petros unexpectedly died from a heart attack. Baghdassarian cut short his educational aspirations to attend to his father’s paint supply business. He maintained his father’s reputation as a fair and honest entrepreneur and was sought out by young Armenians arriving in Tehran looking for work.
In 1973, Hacop married Hilda Voskanian and later had two sons, Peter and Gevik. In 1979, leaving behind the turmoil of the Iranian Revolution, Baghdassarian and his family immigrated to the United States. In Los Angeles, Baghdassarian followed his entrepreneurial inclination and opened the first of several restaurants patriotically named “Massis Kabob” in Glendale. For over four decades, Baghdassarian has worked tirelessly to make his businesses successful – his motivations always being providing for his family as well as contributing to the Armenian community to the best of his ability.
Most recently, Baghdassarian served on the board of the Armenian Educational Foundation and worked with several Armenian organizations, including Homenetmen, Armenian Relief Society and the Armenian Fund. He would make regular appearances on the Armenia Fund annual telethon and was recognized as one of its most consistent and passionate benefactors.
Baghdassarian often traveled to the rural villages in Armenia to review plans for the renovation of dilapidated elementary schools. Baghdassarian has been responsible for the construction or renovation of several schools in rural Armenia, Artsakh and Javakhk. In 2005, Baghdassarian’s philanthropy and dedication were officially recognized when he received the Yerakhtagitutiun Award for his humanitarian services from the then President of Artsakh Arkady Ghoukasyan.
Baghdassarian is survived by his wife, Hilda, his two sons, Gevik and Peter, his daughters-in-law, Paola and Ruby, and his five grandchildren, Anthony, John, Michael, George and Jack.
Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church located at 500 S Central Ave, Glendale, CA 91204.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Armenian Educational Foundation, Hacop M. Baghdassarian Memorial Fund.