The NAASR Board of Directors and staff join with many worldwide in mourning Dr. Dennis Papazian (1931-2023), a friend and colleague and contributor to multiple aspects of academia, Armenian-American life, and Armenian Studies for decades. He was a Charter Member of NAASR, having joined in 1955, and a NAASR Life Member. He served as a NAASR Regional Director for Michigan from 1967-71, on the NAASR Board of Directors from 1973-1990, and for decades as a member of the NAASR Academic Advisory Committee.
“Dennis was always willing, in fact eager, to share his knowledge and his life and work experiences,” recalls NAASR Director of Academic Affairs Marc Mamigonian. “He wanted to see Armenian Studies grow, and he did a lot to make sure it did grow.”
The founder of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, where he was Professor of History, Papazian was twice President of the Society for Armenian Studies and editor of the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies. Papazian was Director of the Armenian Assembly of America from 1975-78 and led the Armenian Assembly’s NEH grant supported Oral History Project which documented survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
In the words of NAASR Board Member Michael Bobelian, who worked closely with Papazian on his memoir From My Life and Thought: Reflections on an Armenian-American Journey (published in 2022), Dennis Papazian was not only deeply involved in scholarly endeavors but also “built institutions that established a foundation for generations to come. His pioneering accomplishments in the early years of the Armenian Assembly established a template for Armenian-American advocacy. The development of the Armenian Research Center at UM-Dearborn served as a major depository for Armenian holdings and helped countless scholars. To truly appreciate Dennis as a person, however, one had to look beyond these accomplishments. The broad smile on Dennis’s face showcased his good-natured bonhomie and personified the ineffable qualities that made him so effective in the many hats he wore as a community organizer, spokesman, and point-person.”
Dennis Papazian is survived by his wife Mary (Arshagouni) and his daughters Ani and Marie.
The funeral will take place at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank, CA, on Tuesday, April 4, at 9:30 a.m. Primate of the Western Diocese Archbishop Hovnan Derderian will officiate. A graveside service at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, will be followed by a memorial luncheon.
In addition, the family is planning a karasoonk memorial service at St. John Armenian Church in Southfield, MI, on Sunday, April 30. A Celebration of Life will take place in the New York/New Jersey area later this year.
For in-depth obituaries please see The Armenian Mirror Spectator and The Armenian Church.