Philanthropist Louise Manoogian Simone, who organized relief to Armenia after a devastating earthquake in 1988 and who aided numerous charitable causes in metro Detroit and abroad, died in February 2019, announced the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). She was 85.
Simone was born in Detroit to Alex and Marie Manoogian. Her father patented the first washerless single-handle faucet, the Delta faucet, and founded Masco Corp., a manufacturer for the home improvement and new home construction markets.
Alex and Marie Manoogian donated the Manoogian Mansion to the City of Detroit, which uses it as the official residence of the Mayor of Detroit.
The Manoogian family was passionate about Armenian rights and causes, and Simone followed that path. Simone made her first trip to Armenia in 1982, while it was under the Soviet Union, and visited frequently throughout the years.
In 1988, an earthquake hit Armenia, killing 25,000 people and leaving thousands injured. Simone flew to the country, delivering relief supplies and bringing rescue teams to the disaster area.
She served as a board member and president of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the largest nonprofit in the world dedicated to celebrating Armenian heritage.
When Armenia became an independent country in 1991, Simone used funds from the benevolent union, as well as her own resources, to help rebuild institutions such as schools and churches. She was a charter board member and benefactor of the American University of Armenia in the country's capital, Yerevan.
After 13 years as president of the organization, Simone stepped down in 2002. However, she continued to give back to Armenia through the Manoogian Simone Foundation, working to reconstruct and maintain schools, hospitals, cultural centers and historical monuments.
Simone was a benefactor to the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Simone, a resident of New York City, is survived by her brother, Richard, sons Mark and David; daughter Christine Simone, and two grandchildren.