In Memoriam: Tigran Sarkuni

Tigran Sarkuni
Tigran Sarkuni

Tigran Sarkuni

Tigran Keusheyan Sarkuni was born on May 19, 1941 in Ainjar, Lebanon. He was the son of Hannis and Mary Keusheyan, who in 1939, had moved to Lebanon from Bitias in the Mousa Ler region, which was unjustly being separated from Syria and given to Turkey during World War II.

The Keusheyan family was blessed with six children—Marlene, Baidzar, Tigran, Vartan, Movses and Sarkis. The family settled in the Zahleh region, where Tigran received his primary education at the Balekdjian College. In 1955 he was admitted to the Seminary of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias. However, not being comfortable with the seminary’s strict discipline, from 1956 to 1960 he continued his education at the Armenian Evangelical School on Ainjar.

From 1960, he attended the American University of Beirut, graduating in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master’s Degree in mathematics. In 1968, he received Britain’s Council Scholarship and relocated to the United Kingdom, where he continued his education at the University of New Castle Upon Tyne, earning a second Master’s Degree in computer science.

While at AUB, he was the director of the university’s computer center until 1970. He was always proud that he was the first computer developer and programmer in the Middle East, at a time when books or textbooks were not published about computer sciences.

Upon hearing about Tigran’s prowess in math and computer science, the Rockefeller Foundation in New York invited him to oversee the organization’s accounting on their first computer. At the same time, Tigran was offered to utilize his knowledge of computers to serve in the Lebanese Army with a rank of colonel. However, he opted to leave to the United States and in December, 1970 he moved to New York where he worked at the Rockefeller Foundation serving as manager of its data processing center until 1986.

In 1987, he moved to Los Angeles, where he married Maggie Parseghian. The newlyweds were blessed with a daughter, Marae, who became the center of his life and universe.

Tigran had a long and active involvement in the Armenian national reality. He was firm believer and member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and an active supporter of the Armenian Church and an ardent champion of Armenian educational institutions.

He joined the ranks of the ARF In 1960 in Ainjar. In New York, he became a member of the local ARF Armen Garo Gomideh and from 1984 to 1986 he served as its chairman. In 1986, Tigran was elected to serve on the ARF Eastern United States Central Committee. After moving to Los Angeles, he became a member of the ARF Karekin Njdeh Gomideh in Los Angeles.

From 1994 to 2000, he was a member of the St. Garabed Armenian Church and the Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School Board of Trustees, serving as its chairman. From 1995 to 2002, for eight consecutive terms, he served as a delegate to the National Representative Assembly of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. From 2007 to 2010 he was appointed by the ARF Central Committee of Western United States, to oversee the daily business operations of Asbarez. With great pride and meticulous attention he oversaw this responsibility on a volunteer basis.

With his unusual mind, bright knowledge and resolute character, Tigran was tenacious and stubborn, with a heart of gold. He had a remarkable memory and was a fountain of information, who would be able to cite relevant information at the right time in a conversation. Within his circles, Tigran was considered an encyclopedia. He had a response for every question. He also possessed an expert knowledge of Armenian literature, especially poetry, the customs and traditions of the Armenian Church, the Bible, Armenian history and Broadway plays and musicals.

Although since 2011 his health had been deteriorating, he always maintained a positive approach and attitude and with his unique wit he would confront all his issues. But, alas, he succumbed and forever closed his eyes on November 26.

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