Paul Armand Murad

paul murad
Paul Armand Murad, age 78, died peacefully in his home in Vienna, Virginia, on January 23, 2022, surrounded by his wife and children. He was the son of an Armenian immigrant father who was a talented machinist and commercial artist and an Armenian-American mother who was a high school valedictorian and skilled storyteller.

Paul was fortunate to have found his passion for airplanes, rockets, space, and technology early in life. He flew gliders as a teen and was a member of the Civil Air Patrol. For fun, he designed, built, and launched metal rockets that he made in his father’s machine shop.

He graduated as salutatorian from Aviation High School in Queens, New York, in 1960 where he split time between studying traditional high school subjects and working on airplanes in the school’s metal shop and hangar. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1964.

Upon graduating, Paul traveled from New York City to Houston by bus to his first job as an engineer at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center. He was responsible for performing reentry ablation analysis on the Apollo. Essentially, he calculated the thickness of the material on the command module’s heat shield.

Paul went on to serve his country and spent two years in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant and member of the 82nd Airborne Division. He was stationed in the Dominican Republic and Fort Bragg where he jumped out of perfectly good planes. He loved this short period of his life, and that’s when he found another passion: serving his country.

After he was honorably discharged, he moved back to Houston to work at NASA for a few years and then returned home to New York City to earn his master’s in aeronautical engineering and astrodynamics at New York University in 1968.

While Paul had asked her many times before over the years, that’s when Lucy Ohanian finally accepted his invitation for a date. After five dates, he proposed, she said, “Yes,” and in 1968, the two were one of the first couples married at St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic Cathedral. The young couple honeymooned in Mexico and then moved to Houston so that Paul could resume his work at NASA.

During the next fifteen years, Paul pursued his career focusing on advanced propulsion systems. The couple moved around the country and made homes in Sacramento, California; Orlando, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Berwyn, Pennsylvania; Alexandria, Virginia; and Hillsdale, New Jersey. They expanded their family with a son Gregory and daughter Andrea.

In 1984, the family settled in Vienna, Virginia. Paul joined the Defense Intelligence Agency and spent the rest of his career supporting the U.S. armed forces.

Even though he retired in 2010, he continued his work trying to solve the hardest problems in physics that exist, and he relished every minute of it. He was a standout in his professional community – better technically than most and more imaginative and excellent at putting disparate information together. Paul had the courage to discuss the strange and unknown mysteries of the universe. Along the way, he published over 140 technical papers. He helped move the world forward while most of us simply maintained it. Few have the opportunity to live such a rewarding life.

Paul enjoyed the countryside, painting, the Sunday comics, taking courses, Van Gogh’s paintings, teaching Sunday School, a good barbeque, reading, writing equations, writing emails, an afternoon floating in the pool, Sudoku, Star Trek, homemade Armenian Manti, and spending time with his family and his friends who became his family. He published nine books covering a range of topics, to include science fiction, genocide, and pulsars.

He was a mentor and role model to his children and countless others whom he met along the way. Paul encouraged everyone to do their best and be their best. He was never content with the status quo. He made many lifelong friends. He had great intellect, charm, wit, and a robust laugh.

He was a proud Armenian and longstanding member of the Knights of Vartan. He was a loving family man. Paul’s greatest love though was his wife, Lucy.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Lucy; his son, Gregory (Razi); his daughter, Andrea; his grandchildren, Arminé and Austin; his brother, John (Victoria); his sister, Linda; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Paul will be terribly missed. Goodbye, and Godspeed, good man.

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Memories Timeline


  1. I had the pleasure of taking Paul on a tour of Kennedy Space Center and to watch the space shuttle launch. We worked together for more than a decade trying to solve some of the most difficult problems in space. Paul was honest, intelligent, thoughtful, technically knowledgeable, and brilliantly creative. People like him give the world hope.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about Paul’s death. He was one of my favorite OLLI friends. May his memory be eternal. (a Greek orthodox blessing). I will miss him.

  3. Both Paul grew up in the Big Apple city of New York City. Paul in the Burrough of Queens and I in da Burrough of Kings , which most of youise know as Brooklyn. I enjoyed Paul presentations at OLLI, especially those about UFOs. He will be missed greatly. John Ware

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