Howard N. Boyajian

Howard Nishan Boyajian died December 4, 2020, in Lawrence, Kansas. He was born March 8, 1926, in New York City, the son of Armenian immigrants, Puzant and Siroog (Zotian) Boyajian. Howard grew up in New York City. As a young boy he had an interest in music. Aspiring to be a violinist, he attended the New York City High School of Music and Art, graduating in 1943. However, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Navy during WWII, serving for two years (March 1944-June 1946) primarily stationed in Pensacola, Florida, servicing airplanes at the nearby Naval Airbase.

After an honorable discharge from the Navy, Howard attended the Juilliard School in New York City, where he studied the violin, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950. He then attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he received a Master of Music degree in 1951. He concluded his studies at Boston University, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1964.

While in Boston, Howard met and started dating June Woodworth from Lyndonville, Vermont, who was a nursing student. Howard and June married on June 27, 1959.

Howard’s career was spent teaching at various universities, including Jacksonville State, Bucknell, the University of New Hampshire, Frostburg State, and Baldwin-Wallace. But in 1966 he found his home, when he joined the University of Kansas and served as Chairman of the Stringed Instruments Department, where he taught for 25 years until his retirement. Howard enjoyed working with his students, many of which he remained in contact with over the years. During his career he accompanied performers such as Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr; played with the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fielder; and gave a solo performance at Carnegie Hall.

Growing up in New York, Howard was a baseball fan, and recalled watching his beloved New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. Howard was also an avid KU basketball fan, and with June attended countless home games at Allen Fieldhouse. They had a large circle of friends in Lawrence. Many will recall seeing Howard around town on his red scooter or walking, usually with a cigar. He was a devotee of crossword puzzles, having distinguished himself by correctly catching an error once in the New York Times crossword puzzle, which the editor acknowledged by a congratulatory letter. Howard and June enjoyed vacationing, especially at St. Pete Beach, Florida, where they made wonderful memories over the years, with family and friends.

Howard is survived by his two children, Julie Lind (Rick) of Overland Park, KS and Mark Boyajian (Pamela) of Nashville, TN, plus grandchildren Laura Kovacs, Andrew Lind, Christopher, Patricia, Melissa, and Michael Boyajian. He was predeceased by his parents; June, his wife of almost 53 years; and his older brother Robert Boyajian.

Never having met a stranger, Howard was a warm and happy person; a true gentleman, who will be sorely missed by all who were fortunate to know him.

Due to the current pandemic, no memorial gathering or funeral services will be held at this time. Donations may be made in Howard’s memory to the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Health Foundation, 316 Maine Street, Lawrence, KS 66044 or online at

7 Condolences

  1. Sue Tapahonso on December 9, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    I’m so blessed to have known and served you- a person who accomplished so much in his lifetime. You will be missed. You were so nice to everyone from different backgrounds. I will miss serving you your favorite food-spaghetti and ice cream. Rest In Peace Howard.

  2. Jim Haack on December 12, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Mark – Sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. He always offered a cheerful greeting at Holiday Park pool !

  3. Larry and Linda Maxey on December 13, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Howard was a good friend for many years, and he and June were among the first to make us feel welcome when we moved to Lawrence. There were a lot of memorable parties at the Boyajian’s, featuring June’s gourmet cooking and Howard’s bartending expertise. We miss them both.

  4. Mary Olson on December 13, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    I was just the parking person at KU, but you never forgot my name or failed to stop by and regale me with tales of your latest adventures with June. A true gentleman, indeed. I am sad for your family, but happy that the universe saw fit to let us be acquainted ever so briefly. Rest well, Dr. Boyajian.

  5. Richard Angeletti on December 14, 2020 at 8:09 am

    We were one of Howard and June’s closest friends. We’ve spent many dinner evenings together and receptions after recitals at KU for many years, and they have joined us several times at our Canadian home. We will miss Howard’s wonderful sense of humor, and making music together at KU.
    Richard and Elvira

  6. Jeannine Wyatt on December 14, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    My sincere condolences to you. It has been a very long time since I last saw you. Your father sounds like a remarkable man. Much like his daughter who I always felt was a remarkable woman.

  7. Megan Fisher on December 17, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Mark and Julie,
    Howard was my neighbor on Randall Road for nearly 2 decades. I enjoyed walking and talking with him in the early mornings for many of those years. He was a such a positive and kind person. Most of the neighborhood called him the Mayor of Randall Road, because he knew and was friendly with everyone.
    My condolences to you both.

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