Obituary: Charles Mosesian, 97

Charles Mosesian of Watertown, Mass., passed away Tues., July 27 at his home. He was born in Kharpet, Turkey, on Oct. 11, 1912, to Krikor and Anna (Kurkjian) Mosesian. The family managed to survive the Armenia Genocide.

Mosesian married Dorothy Sooserian in 1940 and had two daughters, Charleen and Elaine. Mosesian came to America with his family, when he was 16.

Within a few years, he opened the Euphrates Bakery, named for the beloved river of his homeland, in Watertown, where he made traditional Armenian bread. Historically, his large, round, hard flat bread with sesame seeds was baked in clay ovens or in the earth. Mosesian both designed and built sophisticated modern conveyor belt equipment to mass produce the bread. His hands-on approach to marketing had him delivering bread door to door in predominantly Armenian neighborhoods. The business expanded to fill the breadbaskets of upscale restaurants around New England. Eventually, he created a small cracker that he called Euphrates W sold in supermarkets. The demand for the waferettes became so great that Burry Biscuit Co., of Canada, bought the rights to produce them in the late 1950’s. He also produced a frozen pizza using a flash-freezing device and sold that company as well.

In the 1960’s, with others from the Watertown business community, Mosesian started the Coolidge Bank and Trust, the first bank chartered in Massachusetts, to give free checking accounts. From his banking experience in lending to real estate developers, he moved onto condominium development. He built the first high-rise condominium in Watertown and eventually built more than 800 units of housing. Philanthropy was always a large part of Mosesian’s life. He established the Charles Mosesian Family Foundation in order to fund worthy causes. Through the years, he supported numerous schools and organizations. In 2000, he gave the lead donation to start the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown. The 384-seat Charles Mosesian Theater was named in his honor, becoming the permanent home of the New Repertory Theater.

In 2009, Archbishop Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern), presented Mosesian with an Encyclical and the Medal of St. Gregory the Illuminator from Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, for his support of the Saint James Armenian Church. Mosesian also supported the Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway in Boston, and was a life member of the Armenian Assembly of America.

Mosesian was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy. He is survived by two devoted daughters, Elaine Mosesian of Boston, and Charleen and her husband, Peter Onanian, of Weston; his granddaughter, Charleen Onanian Janian, and her husband, Mark Janian, of South Natick; and his beloved great-granddaughter, Sabrina Janian. He is also survived by his sister, Mabel Depoian of North Hollywood, Calif.; and many loving nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother, Gasper Mosesian, formerly of Belmont. The burial will be private. A memorial service will take place on Thurs., Aug. 12, at noon, at the St. James Armenian Church, 465 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown., followed by a celebration of life at the Charles Mosesian Youth and Cultural Center, directly next to the church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Mosesian, to the St. James Armenian Church, 465 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown, MA 02472; the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown, MA 02472; or the Armenian Assembly of America, 1334 G. St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005.

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