Adina Azarian, the East Hampton real estate agent killed Sunday with three others — including her toddler daughter — in a private jet crash outside of Washington, D.C., was a “devoted” mother who’d spent decades building a career in two of the most competitive markets in the country, family and friends said.
She was a professional, "career-driven” woman who became a single mother in her 40s, said a friend, Lak Vohra of Jacksonville, Florida. Azarian’s daughter, Aria, was two, he said.
Azarian, 49, "devoted" herself to motherhood, Vohra said, but also found time for her many friends.
John Rumpel, the plane’s owner, told Newsday in an interview that he and his wife, Barbara, formally adopted Azarian when she was about 40.
"We love her deeply, deeply,” Rumpel said. “My granddaughter was born a little over two and a half years ago and we couldn't be more proud of her. … And it became so over the years that we loved her so much that we wanted her for our own, considering especially I had lost my natural daughter when she was 19.”
In 1994, the Rumpels’ daughter, Victoria Rumpel of Centereach, died in a scuba diving accident off Port Jefferson. Her body was found in Long Island Sound a week after she went missing, according to Newsday records.
Despite her connection to the Rumpel family, Azarian was “not a trust-fund baby,” but a woman who had built a successful real estate career, Vohra said.
The two met about eight years ago at Taste of Two Forks, an East End food and wine event, he said. They went on one date, which led to no romance but a friendship so close he often spent weekends at her Valley Street home in East Hampton.
“She was just a great collector of friends,” Vohra said. “She had a very active social life, and she was obviously gorgeous and single.”
Vohra brought Azarian Indian takeout and introduced her to a tailor who made her dresses; she helped him pick out art, and lent him her basement as a storeroom for a cigar business he had started.
“I think she knew people that were struggling,” Vohra said. “She met a lot of people that were a little lost, like me.”
Kelly Kreth, a Manhattan-based publicist for Keller Williams Realty, said she met Azarian, who would eventually help run the company's New York City office, in the early 2000s, when Azarian was a client heading up her own real estate brokerage, Adina Equities, and cut a distinctive figure in New York City real estate.
“Her dog was part of her logo, with a pink, feminine brand — very different from most New York City-centered real estate brands, which are male-centered and strong … her brand was so decidedly feminine — she was a shrewd businesswoman, but fun.”
Azarian, who also partnered in a Manhattan Mediterranean-style restaurant, Adalya, was featured in dozens of news stories and industry releases over the years. A 2011 Keller Williams New York City news release announcing Azarian's hiring as CEO hailed her “entrepreneurial spirit and leadership skills.”
A 2008 story in an industry publication noted that she’d been featured in “Trump: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received,” a book by the former president. That story described her start in the industry at 21 with little more than “a phone and a fax machine in her living room.”
After working as exclusive broker on projects including Philip Johnson-designed Urban Glass House condos in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, Azarian built a practice on the South Fork of Long Island, working with Keller Williams Realty since 2011, according to Rebecca Bistany, the company's director of operations. Azarian helped launch the firm's NYC Market Center and most recently was an agent at its Woodbury location.
“It’s been a devastating day for me,” said real estate colleague and close friend Kristin Scanlon.
With Robert Brodsky