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Edward Onanian

September 21, 1936 ~ April 1, 2019 (age 82)

Edward Onanian, 82 of East Greenwich, RI passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on April 1, 2019.  Born in Woonsocket, RI, Edward was the son of the late Takouhi Donabedian Krekorian and John C. Onanian. 


Edward grew up on Smith Hill In Providence, RI. He graduated from Classical High School (1954) summa cum laude, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society and was voted Most Popular and Best Natured.  He continued on to Brown University, graduating summa cum laude in 1958, and earned his doctorate degree in Economics from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.


Like many of his generation, Edward was inspired by President Kennedy and in 1963 began a lifelong career at the US Department of Labor in Washington, DC focusing on Labor Management Relations working from the Kennedy through the Clinton Administrations.  During his time in Washington, Edward participated in many historic events, including the March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Career highlights included initiating a program for global economic conferences in Paris, France; being part of an official delegation led by the US Secretary of Labor to Israel; and representing the United States in the Geneva economic conferences. 


A  man deeply committed to the Armenian church, Edward was a true pillar of the community: a member of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church in Providence, RI and St. Mary Church, Washington, DC.  He was known as a leader in both of his parishes, serving on their respective parish councils, investment committees and the St. Mary building fund. He served on the Diocesan Council for 10 years (1983-1993), ACYOA Central Council in the early 1960’s, serving as chair of the Council and a member of the choir association in his early years. He served as a Diocesan delegate for more than 25 years. He received the “St. Nersess Shnorhali Medal” from Vasken I, the Catholicos of All Armenians, in the late 1980’s.


He was known for his honesty and integrity, keen sense of humor and great wit.


Edward was an avid sports fan, with his favorite teams being the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and the Washington Redskins.  He also enjoyed the Sport of Kings and visited numerous race tracks across the country.


He leaves his wife of 57 years, Zvart Avedisian Onanian, his daughters Laurie and Deborah Onanian, son-in-law Eric Stickler, and cherished grandsons, John Edward and Avedis George. Hs is also survived by his brother, Harry Krekorian, Jr.  In addition he is survived by two brother and sister in-laws Edward and Pamela Avedisian and Paul and Esta Avedisian, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother and sister-in-law, Paramaz  and Saranelle Avedisian.


The services will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 with calling hours beginning at 10am and funeral service at 11am at Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church, 70 Jefferson Street, Providence, RI.  Graveside burial will follow in North Burial Ground, Providence.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church Endowment Fund.

Donations may be made to:

Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church Endowment Fund
70 Jefferson Street, Providence RI 02908

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