Haroutyun Chitilian came to Toronto from Aleppo Syria. He was a professional Engineer and was very helpful during the construction of the ARS School and Armenian Community Center (ACC/School) at 45 Hall Crown Place. At the time Harout was working with a large construction company, and if I am not mistaken, at the time, he was project manager for medium-size institutional buildings and ACC/School was within that range. His experience and professionalism was the key factor that the project proceeded rather smoothly and financially did not go “overboard” from the original contract as is the case for many such projects.
At the time we were fortunate to have a professional like Harout as a member of the ACC leadership team. Harout was a difficult guy to work with when it came to construction issues. His uncompromising professionalism, knowledge of contract obligations, and his fair-mindedness helped the building committee members to limit their demands for extras, and changes to the contract agreement, which could have increased the value of the contract beyond our budget limits. Needless to say, our operating budget at the time was always in deficit. Harout’s best “ally” in the building committee was Antranig Artinian.
Any time the mortgage was increased or more dept acquired, Antranig will say, Գիշերները ինչպէս կը քնանաք չեմ հասկնար?. (I do not understand how you can manage to sleep?). When sometimes, there were real sleepless nights, the best “sleeping pill” was, when Viken Ajemian the “whiz kid” Chartered Accountant and the unofficial “controller general” of the ACC accounts, will phone and say Այս գիշեր հանգիստ պարկիր ամէն ինչ կարգադրուեցաւ. (Sleep well everything is in order).
Harout was at his best when he led a team of young engineers and university students that followed the construction process like “nasty” inspectors at every stage of the construction. The monthly “tooth and nail” inspections during the construction by the young engineers and university students, probably made the construction of the School/ACC the most meticulously supervised construction project that the contractor and the architectural firm who designed the building, got ever involved in.
Harout also played a similar and equally important leadership role when Saint Merry Armenian Apostolic Church was built around 1990 that is attached to the ACC. Maybe Harout was also involved when later the new School and Youth Center was built around 2013 close by 50 Hall Crown place. (At the time I was not an active member of ACC anymore).
Harout and his wife Alice were deeply involved in the ACC/School activities both at 18 Dupont street and at 45 Hallcrown Place. Alice, a school teacher, was a very active member both in ARS, and the School and many times played leadership roles. Harout also played leadership roles in ACC, Church, and School activities. Maybe Harout and Alice were one of the longest-serving school trustees and maybe between the two of them they were also the longest-serving chairs Ատենապետ of the school board as well. (Their 2 young boys Hovig and Varuj attended the ARS School, and then pursued their university education in the USA and currently live and work in the United States as very successful professionals).
(I met Harout and Alice past Saturday, March the fifth, at a consultative meeting for the ARS School. We were invited as past chairs of the school board Կրթական մարմին. Both looked healthy and seem to be doing well, and unlike me, they seem to be still involved in the ACC/School activities).
In conclusion of this series of “Worthy Honorees” Պատիւ արժանաւորաց, for the ACC members, I will say that it will be unfair to continue to single out other individuals who played significant roles in the building/maintaining the Armenian Community Centers, without being unfair to many, and many hundreds, of other members, who played no less significant roles, and worked hard, and dedicated their valuable time, and donated their very hard-earned money, for the success of both Community Centers. I am honored, and humbled, to consider myself one of those MANY. Thank you all, and Վարձքերնիդ կատար.
Zohrab Bebo Sarkissian.