In Loving

Helen Iola McClellan Manoogian

June 2, 1921 – March 16, 2024

Helen Iola McClellan Manoogian lived her life, first and foremost, for her Lord Jesus Christ, and went to be with Him on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

Iola was born in Palmyra, MO on June 2, 1921. She formed her early life habits of diligence, work ethic, and frugality during the Great Depression. When Iola was 13 years old, she heard a missionary speaker from China. She decided then to be a missionary. After working her way through college and university earning a BA in History and a BSN in Nursing, she served in the Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II. While she had desired to go to China, she was commissioned by the International Mission Board to the Middle East as a nurse. Through a series of unexpected events, Iola found herself in Beirut, Lebanon, where she immersed herself in the Armenian and Arab cultures. She volunteered her services as a nurse at the CMC (Christian Medical Center) Hospital, where she met her husband, Dr. Peter Manoogian. Iola saw the need for the hospital to establish a Nursing School – so she founded one! Nurses who received their hands-on training at CMC were heavily recruited by hospitals in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, Cyprus, USA, UK, and other countries. After living through a 15-year war, Peter and Iola’s 41 years at CMC Hospital came to an end when they emigrated to the USA in 1986. Iola continued working as a Registered Nurse at Williamsburg Community Hospital until her retirement in 1996 at the age of 75. Several organizations recognized Iola for her contributions to the Middle East and the Armenian and Arab communities. Her Alma Mater awarded her the Vanderbilt School of Nursing President’s Award of Distinction and recognized her as one of the 100 distinguished graduates at Vanderbilt University’s Centennial.

Iola was predeceased by an infant son in 1958 and Dr. Peter in 2001. She is survived by their six children; 21 grandchildren; 41 great-grandchildren; and three great-greatgrandchildren. Her family is deeply grateful to so many who reached out to her or visited with her these last years, and to the caregivers at Discovery Village.

Iola’s family and friends will hold a Celebration of Life service at 10:00 a.m. (EST) on Saturday, April 13, 2024, at Eternity Church, 1200 Wilmington Ave, Richmond, VA, which will be live-streamed.