Harry and Nevart Moordigian Endowment Fund

Harry and Nevart Moordigian Sr.

In 1895, when Harry Sr. was less than a year old, his father was killed in the Ottoman Turk Massacre. Seventeen years later, Harry Sr. and two cousins, Peter Philip, 10, and Yervant, who was married and in his 30s, left Turkey and landed on Ellis Island. Their voyage to America was aboard the RMS Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic.

The cousins traveled to Los Angeles, where Harry Sr. attended the Nazarene School in Pasadena for two years. He later went to work for Nabisco and also sold fruit in the Hollywood hills with Yervant.

In 1917, Harry Sr. came to Fresno where he and Yervant bought 20 acres in Sanger and planted grapes. At about the same time, Harry Sr. was coerced by his sponsor to help finance a small grocery and produce stand in San Fernando. Six months later, the depression hit and he lost everything.

Harry Sr. met his future wife Nevart in San Francisco. She too was an immigrant who came to the U.S. to help her brother take care of his children because his wife had died of breast cancer. Harry and Nevart married in 1937 or 38. Harry Jr. arrived in 1939. His mother passed away 2 1/2 years later at the age of 32 from breast cancer.

According to Harry Jr., there are only six or seven Moordigians left in the world.  

In 2009, Harry Jr. established the Harry and Nevart Moordigian Endowment Fund to honor his parents while supporting junior or senior undergraduate students pursuing a degree in Viticulture and Enology.