Massachusetts Armenian Community Mourns Passing of George Keverian

Former House Speaker organized first Commonwealth observance of Armenian Genocide

WATERTOWN, Mass.—On March 6, the ANC of Massachusetts joined with Armenian Americans throughout the Commonwealth in mourning the passing of former House Speaker and government reform champion George Keverian.

“Speaker Keverian’s commitment to free speech and open government set the standard for civic reform throughout the Commonwealth—a legacy which has touched all levels of Massachusetts governance,” said ANC Eastern Massachusetts chairwoman Sharistan Melkonian. “At the same time, his commitment to proper U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide and devotion to Armenian American concerns garnered the respect and admiration of our communities nationwide.”

Keverian grew up in Everett, Mass., and attended Everett High School and later Tufts College and Harvard College. He began his political life in 1953 at the age of 21, with his election of to the Everett Common Council. He would later serve 24 years in the Massachusetts House, 6 as Speaker.

During his years in the House, Keverian organized the first Armenian Genocide observance at the State Capitol—an event that continues annually to this day.

Keverian’s commitment to education touched the lives of many. On the morning of his death he was scheduled to read Dr. Seuss to students at an elementary school that bears his name in his hometown. He had also served on the Boards of vital institutions including the St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown and the Massachusetts Service Alliance.

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo told the Boston Globe on March 6 that Keverian “led the House during a tough fiscal time and was not afraid to make difficult decisions for the benefit of the entire Commonwealth. On a personal level, Keverian was a kind man, who made a tremendous contribution to his hometown of Everett, which he loved so much.”

Rep. Koutoujian’s Statement

In turn, State Representative Peter J. Koutoujian (D-Mass.) said, “As an Armenian American, I am deeply saddened by the passing of former Speaker George Keverian. He was a hero in our community, not only in Massachusetts, but throughout the country and around the world. Armenians everywhere were incredibly proud of George and the great strides he made on behalf of our culture.”

He added, “As a descendent of Armenian Genocide survivors, his ability to increase awareness about the Armenian American experience was legendary. Because of George, many more Americans are conscious of our issues and our plight.”

“His kind nature made him a great example of what it means to be a public servant, Armenian American and human being. We all mourn the loss of an exceptional man and a kind, gentle soul,” Koutoujian said.

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