ARMEN HOVNANIAN: SODA JERK ROSE TO DRUGSTORE EXEC By Stan Donaldson Free Press Staff Writer
Detroit Free Press, MI June 5 2006
It didn't take long for Armen Hovnanian to know what he wanted to do with his life.
At 13, while working as a soda jerk at a Detroit pharmacy in the 1940s, he told his parents and siblings his dream of becoming a pharmacist.
Later, as a student at Central High School in Detroit, he worked in a pharmacy after school to learn the ropes of the business. He used that knowledge to become a leader in one of Michigan's largest drugstore chains during the 1970s.
"I always thought he was a brilliant man," said his sister, Mary Keoleian of Farmington Hills.
Mr. Hovnanian of Farmington Hills died Friday at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak of emphysema. He was 76.
Born in Akron, Ohio, Mr. Hovnanian's family moved to Detroit while he was an infant.
After graduating high school in 1947, he attended the Detroit Institute of Technology and graduated in 1951 with a pharmacy degree.
A short time later, he was drafted into the Army and served during World War II for two years as a lab technician.
Mr. Hovnanian met his wife, Suzanne, while working for the Cunningham Drugstore chain. They were married 33 years.
He was promoted to executive vice president of the company in 1971 and was responsible for sales. He helped the store develop the concept of a one-stop drugstore, which sold pharmacy items along with other merchandise. He worked for the company for nearly 30 years.
He loved classical music and was a Detroit Tigers baseball fan.
In addition to his wife and sister, Mr. Hovnanian is survived by a son, Michael; and two sisters.
A funeral service is set for 11 a.m. today at St. John's Armenian Church, 22001 Northwestern Highway, Southfield.
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