Bob Kevorkian

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Bob Kevorkian is a renowned businessman, political and social figure of Armenian origin.

Born Norair der Kevorkian in 1942 to Armenian parents in Cairo, but a British citizen, he was thrown out of the country during the Suez crisis, arriving with his father in London with just the clothes on their backs and 10 in their pockets.

Not an easy man to keep down, Bob became a civil engineer and worked in Britain for big construction companies including Wimpey and Trafalgar House. But he did not reach his stride until he became vice-president of overseas operations for Bauer, then purely a German business. Bob was to change all that, opening Bauer offices one by one across the Middle East and Asia.

He arrived in Bangkok in 1989 and immediately felt at home. Thailand, he said, was always welcoming, something he never forgot.

He quickly became known as a man of vision and extraordinary capabilities. When everyone said a subway system could never be built in Bangkok's muddy sub-soil, Bob said it could _ and became the driving force in pushing the government to believe it. He was, of course, proved right in the end.

But the crowning glory to Bob's amazing career was the establishment of his own company, K-Tech Construction, at the depths of the financial crisis. He drove that company through appalling trading conditions to its SET listing in 2004 and earned a lasting legacy with a turnover of $100 million a year.

But while business was important to Bob, and while he was exceptionally good at it, family and friends were even more important. He was a loving husband to wife Linda and father to his five children: Dominic, Greg, Gina, Liza and little Sam.

Once again, Bob and Linda confirmed their love for and commitment to Thailand setting up Baan Nor Giank, a home for children affected or infected with HIV/Aids, and treating those kids as part of their family.

Proud of his Armenian roots, he became that country's Honorary Consul to Thailand in 1997.

With K-Tech arranged as a public company and designed to run without his formidable presence, he turned more and more to the diplomatic duties he took so seriously.

But while K-Tech and the Kevorkian Foundation would go on in his absence, there are many who wonder how they will cope on a personal level without him.

Bob was simply always there, always willing to help anyone in trouble and always able to solve the knottiest problem with a phone call or two. It is hard to believe that now he is gone.

Kevorkian died on 26 April 2005.

His was a remarkable story of a self-made man who came to love Thailand and call it home, and Thailand in its turn loved him back.

There was a shocked disbelief around the business community over Kevorkian's death one of Bangkok's best-loved figures.

The service was at the Holy Redeemer Church, Soi Ruamrudee on Fri 29 April 2005. Kevorkian Kevorkian was buried in Armenia the next weekend.

The family has requested no flowers, but donations to be made to the Kevorkian Foundation, which runs Baan Nor Giank. That would have been Bob's wish.


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