By Mossik Hacobian
Aram Kostoglian died of a heart attack on April 1 while traveling on business in Kansas City. He would have been 65 on July 8. He leaves his wife Denise (Farricker), sons Gavin and Sean, daughters Morgan and Bevin, and granddaughter Alana. Aram lived in Warwick, N.Y. He was the East Region Attest practice leader and a shareholder at Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. (MHM) in the New York office location. He also served as a director with CBIZ MHM, LLC. MHM’s national headquarters are in Kansas City and Cleveland. Aram’s son Gavin is currently serving in Iraq.
Aram had been with the firm since 2006 serving as member of the MHM Executive Committee. He had a longstanding history with the public accounting profession working in national CPA firms and serving on several American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) committees and task forces, including FASB Emerging Issues Task Force (EITF), AICPA SEC Regulations Committee, AICPA Real Estate Committee, AcSEC Committee, and AICPA Ethics Division Behavior Committee. He was the former chairman and recent member of the AICPA Ethics Division Technical Standards Committee.
According to an internal statement issued by CBIZ MHM, “Aram was instrumental in the development of many of the standards and ethical values governing our profession and contributed significant experience and expertise to our firm.”
With Aram’s passing I lost my friend of more than 50 years. Aram and I became best friends soon after my family and I arrived in the U.S. from Iran in 1958. Aram and his parents lived in Woodside, a section of Queens, N.Y., three stops along the Flushing line from where my family and I lived in Elmhurst. I met Aram when I joined the New York AYF “Hyortik” Juniors. We would meet and ride the Flushing train to and from the meetings at St. Illuminators Church on 27th St. in Manhattan. We grew up together through the “Hyortik” Juniors and Seniors, went to Olympics together, were counselors at Camp Haiastan together, and always carried cameras to record activities of the “Hyortiks.” Our specialty was candid shots of our fellow AYF-ers, not always when they wanted to be photographed. Although we gave each other a hard time due to loyalties to our rival high schools of Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech, we were inseparable throughout our high school years.
We wrote articles about the AYF and Armenian history for the Junior Page of the Armenian Weekly (known at the time as the Hairenik Weekly) edited then by Lucille Derderian and Rita Soovajian—Lu & Ri to their reader. When Lu & Ri left their editorial positions due to pressures from their studies in college, Aram and I became the editors of the Junior Page from 1962-65. Our weekly editorials continued to focus on Armenian issues, although on occasion, when we could not think of any issues to write about, we would simply turn our Wednesday night up-against-the-deadline phone conversation into a column. The pressure of meeting the weekly Junior Page deadline and reaching out to young readers across the U.S. further cemented our friendship. Aram was at my side in 1962 when my father died of a heart attack. Years later, I was Best Man at Aram’s wedding, and he was Best Man at mine.
Although we remained in contact after I moved to Boston in 1969, we spoke less frequently as the years went by. Occasionally, Aram would come to Boston on business and we would meet for dinner or drinks. Then a few years ago, we began calling each other on July 8 or 12 to wish each other happy birthday. Aram was four days older than me, and in all of our 51 years of friendship insisted on reminding me to respect my elders—especially him. During the past two years, Aram began to travel to Boston more frequently due to his company’s acquisition of a Boston-area accounting firm. So we began to see each other more regularly, most recently on March 16, two weeks before his untimely death.
Beginning this year, there won’t be any more annual birthday calls. I will miss the calls and I will miss my friend Aram.
On the morning of July 11, “Kostoglian” was the first name to appear as soon as I turned on my email. The message began: “I know it is not the same as my father giving you a call, however I wanted to wish you a very happy birthday.” It was from Aram’s son Gavin from Iraq continuing the annual birthday wish tradition.