Shahen H. Minassian

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Shahen_H._Minassian&chld=H_100&junk=junk.png Shahen H. Minassian Mars symbol.svg
Birthplace Hamadan
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Birth date 5 December 1940
Lived in Hamadan, Isfahan, Tehran, Los Angeles
Resides in Los Angeles
Death place Los Angeles
Death date 2020/06/05
Death year 2020
Profession Businessman
Languages Farsi, Armenian, English
Ethnicities Armenian
Dialects Persian Armenian
Spouses Alice Minassian
Children 3

It is with heartfelt sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Shahen H. Minassian. Shahen passed away peacefully in his home on June 5th, among his family, following a short battle with cancer.

Shahen was born in Hamadan on December 5th, 1940 to Haroutiun Minassian and Nvard Shmavonian. He and his siblings, Bobken, Janet, and Vazgen, grew up in Hamadan and Isfahan before moving to Tehran.

Shahen served in the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces and worked at Amman & Whitney, and Club Shah en Shahi before he met his future wife, Alice Minassian, whose intelligence and beauty left him impressed after their first meeting.

In 1964, the newlyweds embarked on an adventure to the United States. Soon after, their 2 sons were born in Los Angeles to bring them much joy. Shahen got a job at Archie Dickranian’s Premier Market in Beverly Hills. There he learned the inner workings of the supermarket industry while delivering groceries to Hollywood legends such as Natalie Wood, Tony Curtis, John Wayne, and Doris Day.

In 1967 the young family returned to Iran. Shahen ventured off to the US Embassy to see if he could purchase American baby formula for the boys. There, Shahen befriended Gil, the Commissary Manager, who put him in touch with the Kashani Brothers. After their meeting Shahen was hired to help them open Iran’s first megamarket. As General Manager, he successfully grew Forushka Bozorge and helped expand the operations to a Department Store on Jadeh Pahlavi.

A natural entrepreneur, Shahen enjoyed the support of his wife and his father-in-law, Artashes Manoukian, and launched his own supermarket Super Parshin (1974). The supermarket was situated in Niavaran and was adjacent to the Shah’s palace - it was immediately successful. Queen Farrah Pahlavi came by to purchase Kinder Eggs for her children there and the Shah once stopped by to buy a copy of the book “Jaws”.

Life was grand for Shahen and Alice especially when they added a daughter to their family. Three years later, the Iranian Revolution uprooted the family once again back to Los Angeles. Shahen had to reinvent himself. An avid bread lover, he decided to start a chain of French bakeries and started with Golden French Bakers in Glendale. Within a few years, Shahen elevated the business and expanded the franchise across Los Angeles.

A decade later, Shahen sold the bakeries and became business partners with his friend and LA based architect Varooj Zarookian. After completing a few successful projects, Shahen made arrangements to return to Iran, a country that he loved. He spent the next few decades traveling back and forth from Tehran to Los Angeles, as he had done as a young man. Much to his delight and credit, he was able to reclaim most of his expropriated properties in Iran.

Although life was full of moves, his love for the Armenian Community and Armenia remained constant. In Los Angeles he served the Armenian Society of Los Angeles (Iranahye Miutiun) and donated generously to many causes. His main passion, however, lay in his love for the homeland. After returning from his first trip in 1991, he proudly counted over 100 more visits to Armenia. Each time he brought compassion and generosity with him, funding school renovations, setting up school computer labs and helping many in need. Shahen’s operative word was generosity. His motto in life was compassion and empathy.

Shahen will be greatly missed by a family lucky to have him in their lives.

We take comfort in the good memories and know that he will live eternally in the hearts of many. He had many amazing friends and those who loved Shahen should know that he did not suffer pain or anguish towards the end of his life and that he passed in peace and comfort.

Shahen’s wish was for his ashes to be spread in Armenia. We will inform those who would like to celebrate his life when we are able to make arrangements.