It is with heavy hearts that we inform our members of the passing of beloved community leader Kevork B. Keshishian, M.D., on November 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. He was 87 years old. From 1982-1998, Dr. Keshishian served as a member of the AGBU Central Board, an invaluable voice in the organization. “Dr. Keshishian was a true gentleman with a kind heart and wonderful sense of humor. He cared deeply for his community and led with a genuine compassion and devotion,” said Berge Setrakian, AGBU Central Board President. “His decades of service to AGBU and to the Armenian community shall not be forgotten.”
Generous, affable and always spirited, Dr. Keshishian dedicated his leadership and tenacity to AGBU, continuing to be an active citizen in the global Armenian community throughout his life. Born in Syria in 1931, he was a dynamic community organizer from a young age. At 14 years old, he founded and became the first president of the AGBU Student Association in Aleppo. He moved to Beirut, Lebanon at the age of 20 to study pediatric medicine at the French Medical School of St. Joseph University, but he did not forego his role in the Armenian community.
While living in Lebanon, as a practicing doctor, he held a number of positions in prominent Diaspora organizations: he was president of the AGBU University Students’ Association, Secretary for the AGBU Armenian Youth Association of the Middle East and later, Chairman of the AGBU-AYA Central Cultural Committee. Dr. Keshishian was also an avid and prolific writer. In addition to the four medical books he published for the public, he was one of the founders of the independent Armenian weekly paper in Lebanon, Spurk. He was a frequent contributor to Pejishk, Zartonk, Nayiri, Baikar, Nor Or and Shirag. He was a man dedicated to empowering his community by sharing his wealth of knowledge and expertise.
In 1968, Dr. Keshishian immigrated to the United States, pursuing a residency in Radiology at the New England Medical Center and VA Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Just two years later, he became the founder and president of the AGBU Youth Chapter of Boston. He then founded the first American Armenian Medical Association in the United States. As he steadily built his career in the United States as a respected radiologist, eventually becoming the Chairman of the Radiology Department at the Catholic Medical Center Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire, and then President of Metro Imaging Center in Maryland, he remained committed to his newfound Diaspora community. His work was endless: a member of the Central Committee of the ADL Organization for over a decade, the founder and chairman of The Friends of The Armenian Mirror Spectator, and President and Life Member on the Board of Directors of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of America.
Dr. Keshishian embodied a man fully committed to the prosperity, unity and health of his treasured Armenian community. He maintained his heritage proudly and his leadership illuminated avenues through which generations of Armenian youth could maintain theirs.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Cecile Simonian Keshishian, a respected pillar in the global AGBU community and the American Medical Association Auxiliary; his two children, Alek and Aleen Keshishian, both Harvard graduates and well-known in the movie industry; his son-in-law, Kit Troyer Esq., also a Harvard graduate; and his grandchildren, Lulu and Jesse Troyer.