Steven Derounian

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Steven Boghos Derounian
Steven Derounian.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1965
Preceded by Frank J. Becker
Succeeded by Lester L. Wolff
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1963
Preceded by Leonard W. Hall
Succeeded by James R. Grover, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1918-04-06)April 6, 1918
Sofia, Bulgaria
Died April 17, 2007(2007-04-17) (aged 89)
Austin, Texas, United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Emily Ann Kennard Derounian
Alma mater New York University
Fordham University Law School
Profession Attorney
Professor

Steven Boghos Derounian (April 6, 1918 – April 17, 2007) was a Republican Congressman of Armenian-American descent.

Life and career[edit]

Derounian was born in Sofia, Bulgaria to Armenian parents Boghos Derounian and Eliza Aprahamian. When he was three, his family left Bulgaria with his two other brothers (one of whom was the journalist John Roy Carlson) to the United States and settled in Mineola, New York. He attended the public schools and graduated from New York University in 1938 and from Fordham University Law School in 1942.[1]

He was admitted to the New York bar in 1942 and began practice in Mineola the same year. Derounian entered the United States Army as a private in July 1942 and graduated from officers school as an Infantry officer and was assigned to the 327th Infantry. He served overseas from October 1944 to March 1946 and separated from the service as a captain in May 1946. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with oak leaf.

He was elected as a Republican to the Eighty-third and to the five succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1953-January 3, 1965). A staunch conservative and Barry Goldwater supporter, Derounian was narrowly defeated in New York's Third Congressional District on Long Island during the LBJ landslide of 1964 Democrat Lester Wolff won 96,503 (50.7%) votes to Derounian's 93,883 (49.3%). In 1966 Derounian defeated future CIA Director William Casey in the Republican primary, but was again defeated by Rep. Wolff in November, though by an even more narrow tally of 81,959 (50.3%) to 81,122 (49.7%).[2][1] Thereafter, he served as justice of the New York Supreme Court, 1969-1981. He retired to Austin, Texas, saying "I think New York has gotten a little too crowded. Austin is an attractive, educational city." Derounian was additionally a professor of law at the University of Texas.

As a Congressman, Derounian was part of the Congressional Subcommittee that investigated the 1950s Quiz show scandals. This event is presented in Robert Redford's 1994 film Quiz Show, where Derounian is shown harshly criticizing Charles Van Doren, after he admits to cheating on the TV game show Twenty One. When his fellow Congressmen praise Van Doren for his statement, Derounian dissents saying:

"Mr. Van Doren, I am happy that you made the statement, but I cannot agree with most of my colleagues who commended you for telling the truth, because I don't think an adult of your intelligence ought to be commended for telling the truth."[3]

There is a similar anecdote from his youth, when Derounian was helping his father in his wholesale food store as a student. A customer once complained that the 20-year-old Derounian overweighed a shipment of cheese, and his father rebuked him. The young Derounian apologized, but his father shot back:

"You made a mistake, and you're sorry. That's what every dishonest person says when he's caught. Sure, I know you didn't mean to do the wrong thing, but who else knows it? A reputation for honesty is one thing money can't buy. It can be preserved only by not making mistakes, not by making apologies. You remember that, boy, as long as you live."

References[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Leonard W. Hall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 2nd congressional district

1953–1963
Succeeded by
James R. Grover, Jr.
Preceded by
Frank J. Becker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd congressional district

1963–1965
Succeeded by
Lester L. Wolff