Hirair Hovnanian, a prominent American-Armenian, businessman and national philanthropist, died on April 9. His funeral was held the following day in Yerevan.
Born in 1930, Hovnanian arrived in the country by freighter in 1951 and graduated from Villanova University in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Hovnanian was the president and founder of Hovsons, Inc. in 1963, one of the most successful land and housing development companies privately held in the US. “Hovnanian is referred to in books as one of the innovators of the concept of large-scale adult communities of single-family homes located on individual lots,” according to an obituary published by the Asbury Park Press.
Aside from his notable business accomplishments, Hovnanian was also involved in many charitable efforts, including the Boy Scouts of America, Villanova University and hospitals and universities based in New Jersey.
Hovnanian contributed greatly to the global Armenian community, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and one of the founders of the Armenian Assembly of America. In addition, he was a friend of the Hairenik Association and the Armenian Cultural Association of America.
Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, PM Nikol Pashinyan and Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan have all expressed their condolences.
Hovnanian was predeceased by his wife Anna. He is survived by his children Siran, Edele, Armen, Tanya and Leela, two sons-in-law Toros and Levon and five grandchildren.