It is with deep sadness that we inform our members of the passing of Dr. Raffy Hovanessian on May 27, 2020 in New Jersey. Driven by faith, dedicated to healing, and inspired by his family legacy of service—Dr. Raffy Hovanessian lived his exemplary life on a grand and richly hued canvas that encompassed the Armenian world. He responded to the needs of every sector of Armenian society over his lifetime, all while running a successful medical practice, for which he was held in the highest esteem of his peers and his patients.
Born in Jerusalem, he was raised in Aleppo, Syria and moved to Beirut, Lebanon where he attended the American University of Beirut to pursue his medical degree. His life journey took him to the United States and where he settled in Indiana with his wife Shoghag, built a thriving medical career, raised a loving family and became a pillar of the local Armenian church and community.
Soon his name appeared on the short lists of Catholici and bishops, parish councils and non-profit boards, including the Central Board of AGBU on which he served as member from 1989 to 2000. During this time, Dr. Hovanessian was instrumental in the opening of the AGBU center and several new programs in Chicago, and contributed to many other endeavors to grow the organization’s impact across the globe and in Armenia.
When the opportunity to give back to his ancestral homeland of Armenia arose after the devastating earthquake in 1988, Dr. Hovanessian seized it with a great passion. He was among the first to arrive on the scene and never looked back. He set a high standard as public servant encouraging friends and family to always value their heritage and homeland.
“Dr. Hovanessian was someone who could be counted on as a friend, ready to reach out whenever called upon. He provided constant moral and material support even during his later years battling illness,” noted AGBU President Berge Setrakian. “He, along with his wife, who had a strong AGBU background, became integral to the Armenian community of Chicago and beyond. He committed his time and wisdom freely guided always by his faith and devotion to our Armenian Church. He shared his many gifts and blessings with a tremendous sense of Armenian pride and will be missed by many.”