In Memory of Bill Hausrath
At long last, what is there left from life? What’s left to me?
Strange as it seems, only that, which I gave to others…
Translated by Tatul Sonentz
These lines from Vahan Tekeyan’s poem “Final Accounting” echoed through my mind as I read the e-mail notifying me of the passing of Bill Hausrath on Feb. 13, 2015.
Bill had created the Agnes Manoogian Hausrath Memorial Fund and the Agnes Manoogian Hausrath Endowed Research Fund in Armenian Genocide Studies in memory of his wife, Agnes, who died in 2003.
Agnes’s mother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.
Bill was one of the warmest and most modest individuals I had ever met. And I carried Bill’s name in my title. I was the Agnes Manoogian Hausrath Fellow at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University as a doctoral student.
Later, my colleague Umit Kurt, working on the confiscation of Armenian wealth in Aintab during the Armenian Genocide, became a Hausrath Fellow.
Bill’s gift set a standard of generosity in supporting fellowships dedicated to research on the genocide. Other friends of the Strassler Center have donated funds for my more junior doctoral colleagues. But, unlike the Hausrath Fellowships, these are current-use gifts that will not last in perpetuity. My ardent hope is that others will follow Bill’s example by leaving a lasting legacy that ensures the long-term future of Armenian Genocide research.
Bill and Agnes Hausrath didn’t have children. Every now and then, our colleagues would call Umit and I “the Hausrath boys.” Thanks to Bill’s generous gifts, there will be many more Hausrath boys and girls studying the Armenian Genocide.
Born on Jan. 22, 1931 in Lowell, Mass., Bill received his bachelor of business administration degree from Clark University in 1953, and his master’s from Columbia University in 1954. Following a successful career, he retired as a manager at General Electric’s aerospace/engine division.
The day I defended my dissertation proposal, Bill was there beaming with pride. He told me how my research into the destruction of the Armenians in the desert of Der Zor reminded him of the ordeal his mother-in-law had endured.
As I write these lines, a printout of my dissertation draft is scattered on my desk with notes and comments. Somewhere in this pile is the dedication page. Two men are memorialized there: my beloved father, whose last name I carry; and Bill Hausrath, whose name I carried in one of the most cherished titles I ever held.