Furniture Mogul, Ex-Celtics Owner Dies At Age 82

Claudia Vargas and Bob Matthews, [email protected], [email protected]

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
October 20, 2008

Rochester native Harry T. Mangurian Jr., who made his family’s local
furniture business a nationwide success, went on to become a prominent
businessman and horse breeder in Florida and was the sole owner of
the Boston Celtics for several years, died early Sunday morning in
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Mr. Mangurian, 82, died after an eight-month battle with leukemia.

Mr. Mangurian was born in Rochester on Oct. 1, 1926. His father, an
Armenian immigrant, opened an Oriental rug business in 1925 on Park
Avenue near Goodman Street, which later became a furniture store. The
flagship store at 531 Monroe Ave., Mangurian’s Inc., opened up in
the 1940s. In the 1960s, Mr. Mangurian took over the business and
made it into a successful national chain that eventually included
more than a dozen stores.

Around the same time, Mr. Mangurian moved to Ft. Lauderdale and
immersed himself in the business world — in 1969 he purchased the
jet charter company, Southeastern Jet Corporation, and operated it for
more than 30 years; he also owned Drexel Investments, through which he
built and sold thousands of condominiums in south Florida in the 1970s.

In the early ’70s, Mr. Mangurian became very involved in breeding
thoroughbred race horses and bought a 310-acre horse farm in Ocala,
Fla., where he bred many top stallions until 2000 when he sold
Mockingbird Farm.

Family friend Gordon Latz said breeding horses was Mr. Mangurian’s
passion and provided a place where he could find refuge.

"With all his success and fame, he wasn’t interested in it," said Latz,
66, of Ft. Lauderdale. "He just liked breeding horses and going to the
(Ocala) farm."

In 1977, Mr. Mangurian bought 50 percent of the Buffalo Braves of the
National Basketball Association. But at the end of the 1978 season,
he and Braves co-owner John Y. Brown swapped ownership of the Braves
team for the Boston Celtics, which he stayed with until 1983. In 1979,
Mr. Mangurian became the sole owner of the Celtics and was behind the
signing of some big stars such as Larry Bird and Robert Parish. In
1981, the Boston Celtics won the NBA Championship.

During his time as Celtics owner, Mr. Mangurian brought the basketball
team to Rochester for charity exhibition games. His daughter, Terry
Skuse, 60, of Pittsford, said her father always enjoyed giving back
to organizations he believed in.

"He was quiet about his generosity. … He did a lot of things for
people that most did not know about," Skuse said.

Mr. Mangurian also leaves behind his wife Dorothy, daughter Tracy
Jenkins, four grandsons and two great-grandchildren.

When Mr. Mangurian’s wife became ill in 2000, he retired from many
of his businesses to spend more time with her, Skuse said. In his
last years, Mr. Mangurian liked spending time with his family and
watching sports.

"He really liked watching sports, he had two TVs in his room," Skuse
said. "He loved to watch golf, football and basketball."

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