just_inHovnanian Enterprises, the Red Bank-based national homebuilder, has announced the death of its founder, Kevork Hovnanian.

No details were given about the cause or date of death. Hovnanian lived in Rumson and was 86 years old.

He was one of four Armenian immigrant brothers who decades ago went their separate ways as builders. He launched Hovnanian Enterprises in 1959.

Though he continued to serve as chairman, he stepped down from day-to-day operations of the company years 12 years ago and handed control over to his son, Ara, who is chief executive officer and president.

The Hovnanian family controls the majority of the company’s shares, which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Here’s an exceprt from the company’s announcement:

“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,” stated J. Larry Sorsby, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  “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.”

Mr. Hovnanian’s accomplishments have led to numerous honors and awards for both the man and the Company.  More importantly, he cared about giving back and through his philanthropic efforts established a lasting legacy.  Some of his more recent efforts include: the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, NJ, the first Children’s Hospital in the area; generous donations to the New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, who has named the Cardiology Practice area in honor of the K. Hovnanian Family and the K. Hovnanian Pavilion and the Alton A. Hovnanian Emergency Care Center at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, NJ.