Obituary of Haig D. Khorenian
Haig Der Khorenian was born on March 30th, 1932 in Aleppo, Syria to parents Hagop Der Khorenian and Vartouhi (Rose) Der Khorenian. He was raised and educated in Beirut, Lebanon where as a young man he developed an avid interest in electronic instruments and he opened a small repair shop called Radio Haik. Ultimately, he landed a position at Middle Eastern Airlines (MEA) as an inspector of cockpit instruments. Haig directed flight testing and underwent extensive overseas training on Boeing aircraft. In November of 1964 he was married to Jeanette Basdermajian in Beirut. Together they raised two daughters, Sylvie and Rosette, in a happy home surrounded by extended family of loving Armenian relatives. Jeanette and Haig also worked together in a small private business called Meditech which entailed refurbishing of dental equipment.
In the summer of 1978, as the civil war in Lebanon intensified, Haig had a Boeing conference in Seattle, Washington. He took this opportunity to take his family out of the war in Lebanon to vacation in the United States for a few weeks. While the family enjoyed visiting Disneyworld and relatives in Fort Lee, NJ and New Orleans; the war in Lebanon became too dangerous for the family to return. He quickly decided to keep his family safe in the US on an extended visa, and registered his daughters into the Fort Lee School System. He returned to Lebanon by himself with the intention to return permanently to the United States once he put his affairs in order. These were difficult days for his young wife and children who believed they were returning home after a summer vacation. The children faced the unexpected challenges of being in a new country, speaking a new language, and being separated from their father.
Back in Lebanon, Haig spent three long months living at the airport MEA headquarters because snipers made the trip home too dangerous. Fortunately, the following spring, at age 46, Haig was able to return to his family in Fort Lee and start a new life in New Jersey. The Armenian Missionary Association of America gave him small odd jobs within the community until he could land a sales position with a small dental company. This position paved a path to a career as International Sales Director of Henry Schein Dental Inc. He commuted to Long Island from Fort Lee, NJ for 35 years- never missing a day of work. Haig diligently provided for his family, putting his daughters through college, medical, and architectural school.
Haig was an exemplary father and grandfather, present at every milestone of his daughters’ lives. He was there at every graduation, birthday, childbirth, holiday celebration, award ceremony, office opening, move- in, construction project, and household repair- eager to help. He always stressed the importance of education and self-sufficiency.
Haig was also a proud Armenian and volunteered his time to Armenian organizations such as the Tekeyan Cultural Society. In 1993, he traveled with the Howard Karagheusian Foundation to Armenia. With his own hands, in the most difficult conditions, he installed new dental equipment in the Nork Children’s Dental Clinic. Haig was responsible for the donation of all the dental equipment from Henry Schein Dental.
Seven years ago, Haig developed a slowly progressive neurological disorder gradually robbing him of the five languages he spoke, and ultimately left him dependent on email, texts, and a tablet device for communication. Shortly, thereafter, he began to have difficulty swallowing. Despite these medical challenges, he never once complained about his condition or felt sorry for himself. He persevered and adapted with the mission to communicate his support and wisdom to his family. He was patient and prepared for his medical visits with printed updated summaries on his condition, always remaining respectful and mindful of his care takers. He found joy in watching his grandchildren grow, listening to classical music, and learning new things.
Haig Der Khorenian was a loving, generous, resilient, and modest man who was always measured and thoughtful with his spoken and written words. He loved his family, his Armenian heritage, and this country. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. May God bless his soul. Asdvatz Hokeen Loosavoreh.
Haig is survived by his beloved wife Jeanette nee; Basdermajian, and his daughter Sylvie Khorenian, MD & her husband John Aljian MD, daughter Rosette Khorenian and her husband Vicken Arslanian. He was the cherished grandfather of Alec, Colette, John, and Olivia. Beloved brother of the late Vahe Der Khorenian, and uncle to Hagop, Raffi & Maral Der Khorenian.
The family will receive their friends on Sunday 6-8pm June 2nd at St. Thomas Armenian Church, 174 Essex Dr, Tenafly, NJ. Funeral service will be held Monday, June 3rd in St. Thomas Armenian Church at 10am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Armenian Relief Society, Armenian National Committee of America and St. Thomas Armenian Church. For condolences, directions, or information call (201) 944-0100 or www.frankpatti.com
Armenian Relief Society
80 Bigelow Ave. #300
Watertown, MA 02472
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 223-7964
St. Thomas Armenian Church
P.O. Box 53
Tenafly, NJ 07670