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 lmh.org/donate.