Gilbert K. Nersesian of Hillsdale, N.J., a longtime active member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), and the Armenian Church, died on Sat., Jan. 29.
Gil was born in Worcester, Mass., to Hagop and Taqouhie (Der Bedrosian) Nersesian, both survivors of the Armenian Genocide from Tadem, Kharpert. He spent his childhood working in his parents’ confectionery store on Pleasant St. in Worcester, and on his grandparents’ farm in nearby Sutton. After studying engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he served as an armorer in the United States Army in the Korean War, and went on to graduate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society.
A Worcester “Aram” AYF member for many years, Gil was very active in the organization following his time in the army, serving at numerous conventions and on its Central Executive. Perhaps his proudest contribution was his 10 years on the AYF Central Camp Committee, 8 as its chairman, during which he helped build the camp up from a still-unproven idea into the community institution we know it as today.
His years as an Unger in the ARF spanned decades, as did his membership in the Armenian Church. He had been an active member of the “Shiragian” and “Dro” Gomidehs in New Jersey, and a member of the Sts. Vartanantz Church Board of Trustees and Men’s Club, as well as the New Jersey AYF Alumni Association. He was a passionate student of Armenian and military history, particularly of the Armenian revolutionaries and their armaments.
In his professional life, Gil was regarded as a foremost expert in the field of coastal engineering, spending nearly his entire professional career with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He authored numerous publications in the field and participated in presentations throughout the U.S. and the world, including in Taiwan and Venice. A patient mentor to many, Gil’s expertise was sought out throughout the corps and his field, and left an indelible mark on the protection and restoration of beaches in New England, New Jersey, Long Island, and far beyond.
He also generously devoted time to his local Korean War Veterans chapter, local and national political issues, numerous charitable causes, and most selflessly and lovingly to his family.
A gentleman of integrity and dedication, Gil faced challenges with a critical mind and calm, practical insight. Loved for his compassion, his intellect, his curiosity, and his principles, he dedicated himself to family, his work, and his beliefs. He will be dearly missed.
He is survived by his loving wife, Ann (Sipple) Nersesian, his son Peter Hagop Nersesian, his daughter Jennifer Takouhi Nersesian and her husband Luis Maroto, and his granddaughter, Dahlia Maroto Nersesian.
A 40th-day memorial service (karasoonk) for Gilbert Nersesian will be held on Sun., March 20 at 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, 635 Grove St. in Worcester, Mass. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to Camp Haiastan of the AYF, Inc., P.O. Box C, Franklin, MA 02038.