Andrew Shahinian

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Andrew Antranig Shahinian was an artist and renowned public figure in Armenian-American community.

He was born in Yerevan, Armenia, on June 2, 1918. Fleeing ethnic genocide at the end of World War I, the family immigrated to Syracuse, N.Y., in 1920 and relocated to New York City a decade later.


Shahinian an accomplished violinist, turned down a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music and pursued a career in graphic arts.

During World War II he enlisted in the U.S. Army and became a pilot and flight instructor, flying B-29 bombers. At the end of the war, he resumed his career as a photoengraver.

Over the years, Shahinian and his partners acquired more than a dozen firms, making the Master Eagle Family of Companies into one of the largest graphic arts businesses in the country. He retired in the late 1980s.

Shahinian was active in numerous Armenian-American organizations, serving in leadership positions in the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America and the Armenian Library and Museum of America, and on various ad hoc committees dedicated to the advancement of Armenian culture and the preservation and development of the fledging Armenian nation.

He led humanitarian fund-raising and relief efforts to assist Armenian refugees displaced by massacres and ethnic cleansing in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan.

At home, Shahinian was known as "the rock," because as the patriarch of large extended family, he could always be counted on when someone needed help, said his son, Armen Shahinian.

As a first-generation Armenian, he took pride in and was dedicated to preserving the heritage and culture of an ancient people who at various times in their history have come close to annihilation, said Armen Shahinian.

He supported Armenian artists and writers at every opportunity and possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of Armenian songs, taught by his parents, that served his efforts to preserve folk music. Shahinian fostered Armenian culture, his passion helped preserve native music and art.

Shahinian died in 2005 after a long illness. He was 87 and last years lived in Oradell, NJ.

He was survived by his wife, Alice; five children, Steven Shahinian of Midway, Ky.; Armen Shahinian of Franklin Lakes; Virginia Devitre Shahinian of Cohasset, Mass.; Paul Shahinian of Wyckoff; and Linda Pedrazzini of Switzerland; 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A wake and funeral services were held at St. Leon's Armenian Church in Fair Lawn. Arrangements were by William G. Basralian Funeral Home, Oradell.

Donations were directed to the Armenian General Benevolent Union, 55 E. 59th St.,New York, N.Y. 10022, for the AGBU Karabakh Centennial Repopulation Project to aid displaced Armenian refugees.


Sources

  • Andrew Antranig Shahinian; fostered Armenian culture; Helped preserve folk music, art , By PETER J. SAMPSON, STAFF WRITER, North Jersey Media Group, September 28, 2005