Mary IshkanianMay 23, 2014
Troy - Mary Maksutian Ishkanian, 95, died Friday morning, May 23, at Van Rensselaer Manor in Troy.
She was born in Damascus, Syria on September 28, 1918 where her mother and brothers, Yervant and Krikor, fled their home in Aintab, Ottoman Turkey from the Armenian Genocide. She came to America when she was two years old, moving first to Brooklyn, then to Troy. Her mother worked at Cluett's while Mary attended Seton Day Nursery.
Eventually settling in Brooklyn, Mary studied costume design and graduated from Girls Commercial High School where she earned membership in Arista Honor Society, and received annual recognition for perfect attendance.
In 1939 she married John Ishkanian and moved to live in Troy once again. John owned and operated Park Market on Congress Street while Mary raised their three children, Richard, Ronald, and Rita. They moved from Hutton Street to Brunswick in 1953.
Mary was an active member of United Armenian Calvary Congregational Church in Troy. She was a founding member of the Mr. and Mrs. Club there and was frequently seen preparing wonderful church dinners in the big kitchen there.
As one of the first recipients of the Uncle Sam 'Sammy' Award, she was recognized for her contributions and service to the City of Troy. She volunteered at Samaritan Hospital, the Food Bank, the PTA, the Cub Scouts as a Den Mother, and the Arts Center. She supported the Humane Society, and other animal protection organizations with frequent donations.
No one could knit better than Mary. While watching TV in the evening, her hands were never idle. She knitted. And knitted...for every baby that came along to any friend or neighbor, she had a beautiful hand knit sweater gift. Many friends and neighbors came to ask her for help with their knitting projects gone awry.
Mary worked at RPI for 18 years in the Materials Research department. She loved her secretarial job and became a favorite with her multinational graduate students who came to her office for friendly conversation.
She traveled to Mexico, Greece, Lebanon, Turkey, England, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore. She studied landscape design, painting, weaving, pottery, jewelry design, and loved attending the Elder Hostel programs.
Mary was predeceased by her husband, John Nerses Ishkanian, her brothers, and her infant grandson Brandon John Ishkanian. Survivors include her children, Richard (Carol), Ronald, and Rita and her grandchildren Richard Henry (Heather Dill) Petithory and Ani Sarah Petithory.
Relatives and friends may call at the Bryce Funeral Home, Inc. 276 Pawling Avenue Troy on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 from 11AM - 12:30 PM with a funeral service to follow at 12:30PM with Rev. Stepanos Doudoukjian, officiating.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in memory of Mary Ishkanian to St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church PO BOX 196 Watervliet, NY 12189.