Kevork S. Hovnanian, founder and chairman of public builder Hovnanian Enterprises, died Thursday, Sept. 24 in New York, according to a company announcement. He was 86.

"Mr. Hovnanian was the heart and soul of our company and all of our associates mourn this tragic loss. Our deepest condolences and prayers are with Mr. Hovnanian's wife, Sirwart, and his entire family," said J. Larry Sorsby, chief financial officer, in a statement. "Mr. Hovnanian was a visionary who brought tremendous leadership, energy and passion to his job. He made an indelible mark on this company and on the community, where he felt a responsibility and a deep commitment to share his good fortunes. He was a great man and will be dearly missed by all who knew him."

Hovnanian founded what would become Hovnanian Enterprises in 1959. He led the company as president until 1988 and then CEO until 1997, when he was succeeded by his son Ara as president and CEO. Kevork Hovnanian then assumed the role of company chairman.

Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.

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