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Obituary: Joyce S. Ariyan (nee Tarpinian), Longtime Resident of Basking Ridge

A former director at Ortho Pharmaceutical, and active in St. Mary's Armenian Church of Livingston.

St. Mary's Armenian Church in Livingston
St. Mary's Armenian Church in Livingston
Obituary courtesy Gallaway & Crane Funeral Home

Joyce S. Ariyan (nee Tarpinian) passed away Saturday February 8, 2014 surrounded by family. Her peaceful rest came following a long and brave battle with cancer.

She will be greatly missed by her three sons, their wives, 10 grandchildren, family, and many dear friends.

She and her late husband, the beloved Levon M. Ariyan, moved their family to Basking Ridge, NJ in 1972 where she remained a resident until 2011.
Joyce was born in Detroit Michigan, in 1938, to Manuel and Arshalous (Kassabian) Tarpinian, Armenian immigrants and Genocide survivors.

Following her graduation from high school, she began a career in caring for others which spanned over fifty (50) years. Initially, she became a registered nurse and then went on to teach nursing at Muhlenberg Hospital in NJ.

Joyce graduated with high honors from Drew University and earned her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Fairleigh Dickinson University. The combination of a business education and strong medical knowledge led to a successful career in the pharmaceutical field where Joyce rose to the level of Director at the Ortho Pharmaceutical Division of Johnson & Johnson.

Following her retirement from J&J, Joyce became the Executive Director of the Mind, Body, Medical Institute for Atlantic Health Systems of NJ. Thereafter, in her continuing passion to assist others, Joyce volunteered with hospice care, the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) and as a substitute nurse in the local elementary schools. 


As a devout humanitarian and Christian, Joyce's greatest passion was her insatiable desire to help others. Throughout her life, she volunteered for many relief organizations and dedicated the majority of her time in the service of others.

Joyce gave service to people in the United States and around the world through the American Red Cross Disaster Relief and Habitat for Humanity, with mission trips to build homes for the needy in Mexico as well as her beloved ancestral homeland of Armenia.

Without hesitation, she played a key role in spearheading corporate pharmaceutical relief to Armenia after the devastating earthquake in 1988. Following the unprecedented domestic destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, Joyce spent weeks providing care and relief efforts in the most devastated area of the Gulf region. Even in her final weeks, she remained actively involved in organizations that upheld the Armenian-American virtues she held dear - family, faith, and patriotism. It was one day during her younger times as a nurse, that an elderly Armenian patient insisted on introducing Joyce to a "nice, handsome, Armenian young man."

She would ultimately marry that man, Levon Ariyan. After a number of years, Joyce and Levon would settle in Basking Ridge NJ, and raise three sons as loving and actively involved parents.

This active involvement was not limited to their local community, they also became leaders at St. Mary Armenian Church in Livingston NJ.

While at St. Mary, Joyce was a volunteer in both the Sunday and Armenian schools, she was a member of the 3Ms, Young People's Auxiliary, and sang in the Church choir. Her strong Christian faith was always the cornerstone of her life.

She traveled on Church missions in the US, as well as to Armenia and Jerusalem. In 1992, after 27 years of marriage, Joyce's husband Levon passed away following a long illness. She spent years caring for him with unyielding angelic grace.

In spite of this challenge, she continued to be her family's pillar of strength, keeping her boys closely together and ensuring the successful completion of their educations. Only after helping each of her children launch their careers, did Joyce retire from corporate work and focus solely on charity.

Over the last two decades Joyce had seen her family grow as her sons started families of their own. Her greatest joy in life became her beloved grandchildren. They will undoubtedly learn from the example she set as a woman of character, compassion, and faith.

Joyce is survived by her sons, Joseph of Ramsey NJ, Haig of West Nyack NY, and Levon of Martinsville NJ, their wives, Susan, Nadine, and Laura, respectively, as well as her 10 grandchildren.

She is also survived by her dear friend, Joseph "Pappa Joe" McCulla of Pompano Beach FL, a brother Haig Tarpinian and sister in-law Beverly Tarpinian of Boca Raton FL, sister Dorothy Tarpinian of Detroit MI, and brother and sister in law Zaven and Janet Ariyan of Westwood NJ.

She continued to touch and impact those who met her, literally to her last day with us. She should serve as an example of humanity, compassion and caring to others. May she rest in peace and be comforted in arms of the Lord for eternity. 


Visitation will be held on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at St. Mary's Armenian Church, 200 West Mount Pleasant Ave, Livingston, NJ from 2:00 - 4:00 & 7:00 - 9:00. Funeral Service will be held on Friday, February 14, 2014 at St. Mary Armenian Church, Livingston, 10:00 AM. Interment will follow at Somerset Hills Memorial Park, Basking Ridge.

For more information please call the Funeral Home at 908-766-0250 or to light an online condolence candle visit our website www.gcfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Armenian Church Endowment Fund, in memory of Joyce S. Ariyan.

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