FRESNO–Longtime community activist and the founder of the Armenian National Committee of Fresno Richard Darmanian died Tuesday. He was 81.
Darmanian was a member of Fresno’s Armenian Revolutionary Federation Soghomon Tehlirian chapter for more than 60 years. He also served on the ARF Western US Central Committee. In 1984 he opened the Armenian National Committee (ANC) office in Fresno and served as ANC Central California Director for more than 15 years.
"The ANC mourns the loss of our dear friend and colleague Richard Darmanian," stated ANC-WR Chairman Vicken Sonentz Papazian, "Richard embodied the best of Fresno Armenia’s, from his love of nation and dedication to the Armenian Cause to his understated yet unyielding pride in his family and heritage. He will be dearly missed."
Darmanian was born on November 21, 1926, in Sacramento, California. He moved to the Central Valley at an early age. He graduated from Caruthers High School in 1944, and earned his BA in History, and Masters in Guidance & Counseling from Fresno State College.
He started his teaching career at Roosevelt High School in Fresno in 1952. He taught mathematics, history, and government. He also served as counselor and Dean of Boys at Roosevelt High School. He was appointed Assistant Principal of Edison High School in 1969, and Principal in 1972. He was assigned as Principal to Hoover High School in 1979. Mr. Darmanian served as District Administrator in the Division of Instruction with responsibility for the district’s high schools from 1984 to retirement in 1988. He also chaired the California State Accreditation Commission Visiting Committees to seven high schools throughout the state.
Darmanian became a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in 1950. He served several terms as member of the Regional Executive Committee, and the Central Executive Committee. He also served as Regional Secretary of the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia (Armenian National Committee) from 1952 to 1970.
Darmanian was a founding member of the Armenian Community School of Fresno in 1976, and served as chairman of the Board of Education for six years. Mr. Darmanian served as chairman of the Armenian Community Council of San Joaquin Valley for many years. He also served on April 24th Commemorative Committee, and as chairman of the commemorative activities on several occasions.
Darmanian has been a member of the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church for many years, and on the Board of Trustees for several years, and served as member of the Executive Council of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of North America from 1988 to 1998. Mr. Darmanian was appointed to the Education Council of the Armenian Schools under the jurisdiction of Western Prelacy in 1990, and 1994.
Darmanian served as Executive Director of ANC Central California from 1988 to 1996. He is also a member of the California State University Fresno Armenian Studies Advisory Board, a member of the Fresno Convention Center, and a member of the Redevelopment Agency PAC. Mr. Darmanian has also been a long time member of the Exchange Club in Fresno.
He married Armon Mamigonian in 1949. Richard and Armon have six children; Aram, Charlotte, Margaret, Christine, Suzanne, and Marian. Richard and Armon are blessed with seven grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday June 14 at Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Fresno at 10 am.