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Chaparral 2017-2018: 26.6 In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Jo Ray McCuen (English)

She was responsible for getting me involved in the Study Abroad Program. She was meeting with then VPI Chris McCarthy when I dropped in to say "goodbye" for the weekend. They both looked at each other, and Jo Ray said "Yes, he is the one." She turned to me and said "how would you like to spend a semester in Florence Italy teaching with Leonard DeGrassi." It changed my life.

-Roger Bowerman

Like the late Dr. John Davitt, Glendale College's longest-serving President-Superintendent, Dr. JoRay McCuen represents the Golden Age in California Community College history. Her professional legacy would be to focus always, no matter the demands of bureaucracy and the constraints of economy, on what we are about: education. Even when she became a Division Chair, and later, a Dean, JoRay remained first and foremost a teacher, whose goal was to help students reach their potential. I never had the pleasure of meeting her former student, Timothy Vale, but his tribute to her was most fitting: he described how she inspired him, patiently mentored him, and brought out the professional best in him, by transmitting her love of and her expertise in English to him. JoRay's textbook Readings for Writers is the best introduction to composition, literature and critical thinking that I have ever encountered. She spoke and wrote impeccable English and positively celebrated it in her books, her correspondence and her conversation. She deeply respected other languages and enthusiastically supported the Foreign Language Department, applauding its expansion from a small, barely full-time program in 1975, to the much larger one it has become. JoRay was instrumental in the creation of the Scholars and the Study Abroad Programs and was devoted to Glendale College, striving always to make it achieve academic excellence. Herself an intellectual, versatile in her passion for language, literature, classical music, world travel, and art, she made learning an adventure. JoRay's warm, generous, and compassionate personality infused all her professional endeavors: she was adored by students and staff alike. Upon retirement, she was sorely missed; her passing, obviously a source of great sorrow to those who knew her personally, is a great loss to the world of public education.

-Teresa Cortey

I truly appreciate, and will always acknowledge, my wonderful exposure to many phenomenal teachers of young people I have met at Glendale Community College. Dr. McCuen was my professor of English during my academic development, and I remember her so fondly. I recall vividly as a teen being taught by Dr. McCuen, as well as an invitation to meet with her during her office hours to review a paper I was struggling with, as I sought her advisement. Dr. McCuen said, Tim if you really want to improve your writing skills let’s start meeting during office hours and I'll definitely help you out; her words are still clear in my mind. I took that opportunity on urgently, and never looked back. Throughout my academic career I utilized Dr. McCuen's advisement and teachings, and thus found myself extremely successful with the results of my writings and research papers. I will always hold dear to my heart the memory of Dr. Jo Ray McCuen and Readings for Writers. Thank you Dr. McCuen. Strong work!

-Timothy Vale

Armen Hovanessian (Officer)

A respectful officer with lots of potential, he will truly be missed.

I had the privilege of working with Armen. Young age never stopped Armen from having big dreams and goals, now we are so sorry for his departure. Armen always stood out of all people by his friendly character and his big heart, those of us who got to know Armen were very lucky for having crossed paths with him.

-Armineh Khanbabian

I really liked Officer Hovanesian. He was such a compassionate guy who was always really friendly when we spoke. It seems like 2017 couldn't end without another jab at the college. I knew Izabella and Rueben from A&R for many years and their passings marked the beginning of a number of subsequent deaths of people I knew and cared about outside of the college. It makes me disheartened to think that this past year has been filled with so much sad news for our close-knit college family. I truly hope that 2018 is a better year for us. May Officer Hovanesian's family find comfort in his memory and may it be a blessing to those he knew and loved.

-Michael Serot

Armen was my ESL student a fair number of years back when he was still new in this country. Through all the years he has worked on the campus police force, we have always maintained a warm and friendly relationship. He was just such a pleasant and good guy. GCC has lost one of its finest.

-Richard Seltzer

Izabella Khachturyan (Admissions & Records)

A warm hearted friend, who had the sweetest smile.

Izabella was a wonderful colleague and friend. I feel privileged I had the chance to know her and work with her. She was the most helpful person and served our students with patience and care. My dear Izabella, you will be greatly missed.

-Andrineh Dilanchian

Izabella was a wonderful colleague and friend. I will miss her greatly. It's so sad to lose another valued and cherished member of the A&R staff that I knew for many years. RIP, my friend.

-Michael Serot

It was pleasure to work with such humble and wise lady. RIP Izabella. My prayers with family and A&R during this difficult time.

-Valentin Babakhanian

Ruben Cuevas (Admissions & Records)

A strong soul and a loyal friend.

Ruben was always so helpful and friendly. I really appreciated his dedication and service to our students. He is missed.

-Laura Matsumoto

I will miss knowing Ruben isn't there to ensure A&R runs smoothly as can be and to answer my questions with dignity and grace. Ruben was an amazing human being!

-Theresa Lorch

Ann Cassidy (DSPS)

We were saddened to lose Ann Louise Yeates Cassidy on February 11, 2018.

With just one break in her tenure, Ann had worked in the Disabled Students Programs and Services from April, 1995 to April of 2016. For the majority of that time, she was in charge of test proctoring in the Instructional Assistance Center. Those who had the opportunity to interface with Ann undoubtedly recognized her as a warm and compassionate soul.

In 2009 she earned a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling from Pacific Oaks in Pasadena, California, but most would agree that she had already been lifting and counseling those around her, many years before she was certified. Many students as well as staff would find themselves confiding in Ann, as she had a talent for letting people know she had an open, accepting heart.

Annie was an adventurous, fearless spirit, blessed with creativity and immense artistic talent. She found joy in her church work, particularly with the youth. She is adored by her children, their spouses, and her nine grandchildren. She was a bright light of energy, positivity, and determination. She is greatly missed by her DSPS family.

Other Goodbyes

We would also like to pay tribute to other valued and beloved members of the GCC community who have passed recently, including:

  • Mark Smith (Visual and Performing Arts)
  • Joe Agoston (Physical Education, Theater Arts)

You will be missed.

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