Alton Ara Hovnanian
MIDDLETOWN, NJ - Alton Ara Hovnanian, 15, of the Locust section of Middletown, the son of Ara Hovnanian and the grandson of philanthropist Kevork Hovnanian, was killed Monday night when the personal watercraft he was operating near the Oceanic Bridge slammed into a moored sailboat.
The teen was camping on a nearby island with friends and was reported missing around 11 p.m. when he failed to call his mother on his cellular telephone to let her know he was safe. He was found shortly afterward, floating unconscious in the water by the caretaker of the family's house, and was pronounced dead at the scene. It was expected that the sailboat and watercraft would be removed from the water this Thursday once the tide rose. Police are continuing to investigate but a spokesman for the NJ Police said that the death was simply a tragic accident. The spokesman said the teen should not have been operating a personal watercraft after dark. Rules require personal watercraft use to cease one hour before sunset. Alton, the oldest of Ara Hovnanian’s three children, was a recent graduate of Rumson Country Day School. Private funeral services were slated to be held at St. Stepanos Armenian Church in Elberon, NJ Thursday morning, followed by a memorial dinner at the Molly Pitcher Hotel in Red Bank, NJ. In the evening of the funeral, a memorial service for Ara was scheduled to take place at Rumson Country Day School. Because of this tragic death in the Hovnanian household, the 15th anniversary celebration of St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, NJ, set for this Sunday, July 21, 2002 has been postponed, along with similar other activities in the community.