Obituary: Haig Der Manuelian: Attorney, Founder of Armenian Museum of America


dermanuelianobitBELMONT, Mass. — Haig Der Manuelian died on December 1. He was 90.

He was a successful attorney and also one of the founders of the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, which more recently shortened its name to the Armenian Museum of America.

He was the husband of Adele Flora (Koundakjian) Manuelian.

He leaves his children, Mark Manuelian and his wife Deborah, Matthew Manuelian and his wife Anahit Atayan, Michael Manuelian and his husband Gregory Welch, and Martin Manuelian; six grandchildren: Ara, Ami, Ana, Asa, Haik and Romen; and three foster grandchildren: Kolbey, Kinley and Konley; and siblings John Vigen Der Manuelian and Lucy Der Manuelian.

He also leaves many nieces and nephews and his devoted assistant of 47 years, Dotti Burke.

In a statement, ALMA President Michele M. Kolligian said, “Today is a sad day for all of us at the Armenian Museum of America as we mourn the passing of our leader. He was a proud Armenian and man of strength who excelled in every aspect of his life. His devotion and passion for the betterment of the Armenian Museum was unwavering.

“He worked diligently, selflessly and with great integrity. A true visionary, Haig demonstrated a deep passion and dedication that made it possible for this institution to thrive and grow into the world-class Museum it is today.

His commitment and perseverance were the driving force behind all of us who worked alongside him, and his example will guide us to continue his legacy.”

Edmond Y. Azadian, president of the Tekeyan Cultural Association, in a letter to Kolligian praised Der Manuelian for having “a sense of history, which eventually evolved to materialize in the inception and creation of the Armenian Museum. The museum will certainly remain as a living memory and testimony to all things that Haig stood for in his lifetime.”

He added, “The Tekeyan Cultural Association also owes him deep gratitude as he always offered generously his precious time and expertise to help the organization in its legal issues.”

On November 22, 2014, the Armenian Museum held a special dedication event to celebrate the official opening of the newly renovated Adele and Haig Der Manuelian Galleries (formerly known as the Contemporary Gallery) located on the third floor. The splendidly renovated and expanded art galleries provide an intimate yet spacious setting for the numerous art exhibits held throughout the year. This renovation and the reconfigured walls led to a substantial gain in usable space, and the harmonious new look truly shows off the museum’s collection of contemporary art.

The funeral service will be on Saturday, December 10, at 10 a.m. at First Armenian Church, 380 Concord Ave., Belmont. Visiting hours at the Aram Bedrosian Funeral Home, 558 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown will be on Friday, December 9, 4 to 8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Armenian Museum of America (f/k/a Armenian Library and Museum of America), 65 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472. Interment will follow at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge.