On March 12, Rev. Vartan Kassabian died suddenly at his home in Methuen, Mass, at the age of 51.
Der Vartan was the pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Mass. He had previously served as pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Granite City, Ill. Prior to his ordination, he served as a deacon at St. Asdvadzadzin Armenian Apostolic Church in Whitinsville, Mass., and was employed at Rhode Island Hospital.
Der Vartan was born in Providence, R.I. on Dec. 17, 1957 to Rose Postoian and Vahan Kassabian. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, and uncles Peter Postoian and Thomas Postoian. He leaves his wife Pauline (Bergreen) Kassabian; three children, Scott Gauvin and daughter-in-law Joanna (Springfield, Ill.), Megerdich Kassabian, and Susan and son-in-law Adam DeWilde (Springfield); and two granddaughters, Grace and Gabriella. He also leaves a sister Roxanne Kassabian, his extended family, and cousins in Rhode Island.
Der Vartan Kassabian graduated from Hope High School. He attended Rhode Island College and Providence College where he studied theology and religion. He completed his studies in Armenian Church history and liturgics at the Armenian Theological Seminary in Antelias, Lebanon. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 26, 1992 by His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of Blessed Memory.
Der Vartan was a member of the Providence “Varantian” AYF Chapter, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation “Kristapor” Gomideh of Providence, and the Arakadz Lodge of the Knights of Vartan of Merrimack Valley. He held various executive positions in all of these organizations and faithfully served their goals and aspirations throughout his lifetime.
A memorial service for Der Vartan will take place on Tuesday morning, March 17, from 9-11 a.m., at St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church (978-685-5038), on 158 Main St. in North Andover.
A funeral wake will take place later that day, March 17, from 4-8 p.m., with a 7 p.m. mass, at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church (401-831-6399), on 402 Broadway in Providence.
Extreme Unction and the funeral mass will take place on Wed., March 18 at 10 a.m. at Sts. Vartanantz Church, under the presidency of the Prelate, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan.
Burial will follow at North Burial Grounds (401-331-0177), on 5 Branch Ave. in Providence.
A mercy meal will be held at the West Valley Inn (401-822-2834), 4 Blossom in West Warwick, R.I., following these services. Arrangements are by the Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home in Methuen.
At the request of the Kassabian Family, in lieu of flowers, donations and memorial contributions may be made to the Kassabian Memorial Trust Fund. (Donations can be mailed in c/o Cutcliffe, Glavin and Archetto Law Offices, 155 South Main St., Suite 300, Providence, RI 02903.)
Memorial contributions may also be made to the Armenian Prelacy (212-689-7810). (Donations can be mailed to 138 East 39th St., New York, NY10016.)
The Armenian Weekly sends its deepest condolences to Yeretsgeen Pauline and family.