Robert A Boyajian
SGT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co C
Born 1922 in NY, Died 2012
Other residence(s): New York, NY; Akron, OH; Strafford, VT; Lebanon, NH
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
College education before the war: Pratt
Bob Boyajian was born on January 17, 1922 in Manhattan, the older of two brothers; his parents were both immigrants from Armenia. He attended Pratt Institute in New York City, where he became good friends with fellow illustration students Ray Harford, Vic Dowd, and Ken Bald; they referred to themselves as the Four Musketeers. They socialized together, and two of them ended up marrying women they dated while at Pratt. Ray married Edith Taylor in 1942, and Bob was best man at the wedding.
The Four Musketeers graduated from Pratt with certificates in illustration in June, 1941, and went to work, along with several other classmates, at Jack Binder's studio. Jack had 50 artists working for him, drawing comics for Fawcett Comics, Nedor Comics, and Lev Gleason Publications. He'd started in a Fifth Avenue loft in Manhattan, but eventually moved his crew to the loft of a barn in Englewood, NJ which became known as "Binder Barn."
When Bob filled out his draft registration in June, 1942, he said that he was working for Fawcett Publications. When he enlisted, he became a member of the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, along with two of the other three Musketeers—Harford and Dowd. (Bald joined the Marines.)
He was discharged from the Army in 1945 with the rank of SGT. In 1946, he took a job in the art department at Firestone in Akron, OH. Later that year he became engaged to Martha Crocker, a Smith College graduate and a painter, then studying at the Art Students League in New York. They married in January, 1947.
The Boyajians would go on to have three daughters: Gail, Ann, and Laura. Bob remained at Firestone until 1965, when he took a job as the Art Director at Hugh McNeill Inc., an Akron advertising firm.
During his years in Akron, Bob continued to practice photography and illustration outside of his advertising career. He drew the map for an illustrated self-guided tour of the Cuyahoga River Valley, designed and photographed a brochure for the Akron Public Library, and illustrated several books. He also wrote numerous letters to the editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, sympathizing with the plight of the Armenians, standing up against racism, and supporting other Democratic causes.
Martha continued to paint; in 1964 they held a joint exhibit of their work in Akron—his photographs and her paintings. Bob was also an avid tennis player and fencer.
In retirement they lived in Strafford, VT and Lebanon, NH. Martha died in 2008. Bob died on February 6, 2012 in Waltham, MA.
All three of their daughters became working artists, widely exhibited and collected.
1940 draft card
1946 engagement announcement
1947 marriage announcement
1961 letter to the editor in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH)
1964 article in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH) re a joint exhibit of his photos and his wife's paintings
1965 article in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH) re a job change
1969 article in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH) re a brochure he designed for Akron Public Library
1970 article in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH) about his children's art skills
1971 article in the Burlington Free Press (VT) about a book he illustrated
1975 article in the Akron Beacon Journal (OH) about a travel brochure he drew a map for
1983-1993 US public records
2012 death record