Iris Kassabian (1932-2016)

Iris Kassabian, 84, died quietly on Feb. 4 of congestive heart failure at her home in the Esplanade in New York.

Iris was born in the Armenian neighborhood near St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City on Jan. 10, 1932, to Mgrdich and Alice Noorian. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Hunter College, CUNY, she married Richard Peter Kassabian in 1954, who predeceased her in 1992 after 38 years of loving marriage. They had two children.

Iris delighted in staying home with her children, as well as being a pillar of the Cliffside Park, N.J. community, helping to raise the money for the town library, co-writing and directing annual musicals to raise funds for the PTA, and accompanying a community chorus. She was an accomplished pianist, which was a great source of joy for her and her listeners. With Richard, she ran the New York Armenian Folk Dance Society in the early 1960’s. From 1973-97, Iris worked at the United Hospital Fund of NY among some of her closest friends.

She is survived by a daughter, Anahid, and son, Dikran; son-in-law Leo G. Svendsen and daughter-in-law Tacey White; grandchildren Maral Kassabian Svendsen, Stephen Avedis Kassabian, Richard William Kassabian, and Michael Dikran Kassabian; and her longtime aide Coralanne Haynes. We bid her anoush koun.

A memorial will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Geriatrics Department of the Weill Cornell Medical Center or to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West