Obituary: Russell Gasparian (1918-2010)

Russell (Razmig) Allenby Gasparian, 91, the producer, director, and host of the Armenian Radio Hour for six decades, passed away peacefully on July 22 in Providence, R.I. He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Elizabeth (Mooradian) Gasparian.

Russell was born in Aleppo, Syria on Nov. 9, 1918 to the late Rev. Fr. Yeghishe and Negtar Gasparian. Five sisters completed the family: two surviving sisters, Naomi Balkun of Connecticut and Roxanne Higginbotham of Massachusetts, and three deceased sisters, Anoush Minassian, Irene Vartanian, and Helen Ohanessian.

In July 1947, without any formal broadcast training, he established the Armenian Radio Hour, an ethnic radio variety show, in Providence. The Museum of Television and Radio in New York and California recognized Russell’s program as the longest continuous running ethnic program in the United States. Russell received numerous awards and accolades for his many contributions to the Armenian community.

Russell also founded Four Star Creations, a jewelry design and manufacturing company, in Olneyville Square, Providence.

Russell’s philosophy is reflected in his well-known quote: “Heritage, culture, tradition: Armenians are proud of it, and wherever Armenian songs are heard, there Armenia lives.”

In addition to his wife, he leaves his three children, George Gasparian and wife Martha of Pennsylvania, Florene Odgers and husband Ken of New Jersey, Sonya Taraian and husband Gary of Massachusetts, and four grandsons.

Funeral arrangements are private. Memorial donations may be made to St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Church, 402 Broadway, Providence, RI 02909; The Armenian Euphrates Evangelical Church, 13 Franklin St., Providence, RI 02903; or Home & Hospice Care of RI, 1085 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904.

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