Lowell ARS Loses Beloved 65-Year Member

LOWELL, Mass.—Few have given more of their lives to the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) than Rose Narzakian.

Rose Narzakian was all heart when it came to her church and the Armenian Relief Society.
Rose Narzakian was all heart when it came to her church and the Armenian Relief Society.

Whether it was collecting food and supplies for relief victims, tending to a booth at the Lowell Folk Festival each July, answering the call of duty, or delving into her purse to aid a cause, Rose symbolized the very best her organization represented.

She’s being remembered as a woman who gave her heart and soul to the ARS, through good times and bad, because she knew the good it would bring humanity.

The Lowell “Lousintak” Chapter to which she belonged was aptly named after her mother.

Rose succumbed Oct. 17 at Radius Northwood Health Center following a period of declining health. Each day she was visited by her close Ungerouhis from the ARS, looking after her welfare and settling her estate. She was 92.

A more familiar setting was behind an Armenian food counter, serving up platters at an ARS or church dinner, hobnobbing with her best friends, and keeping the torch aglow. She particularly enjoyed baking Armenian pastries and sharing recipes with others.

“I’ve lived a full life,” she once admitted to others. “I see the sun shining and am happy to live each day as it comes. The fact I was born and raised an Armenian has been a privilege and I’ve done my best to promote that.”

Together with her twin brother, Varoujan, you could always count on their support—to various organizations or St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, where they belonged. It was as if one complemented the other. As twins, they shared the same philosophy.

“We’ve always kept our heritage strong,” she admitted. “Our community has always been very near and dear to all of us. We’ve always been family together and looked after each other’s welfare in time of need. Nothing has ever pleased me more than to see the younger generation continue our culture. It’s always made me so very proud.”

In her day, Rose helped many Armenian charities and orphanages in Armenia, touring that country twice in 1985 and 1992. Several winters were spent in Holiday, Fla., with her brother.

Another passion was attending dances on Saturday evenings at such popular halls as the Totem Pole and Canobie Lake Park where the Big Band sounds of many great orchestras filled the air.

Rose was born in Lowell on Nov. 23, 1921, the daughter of Mgrditch and Lousintak (Moujakian) Narzakian, and lived there her entire life. She attended Lowell schools and was a 1940 graduate of Lowell High School.

She was employed for 40 years at Raytheon Corporation, starting out as a bench worker before becoming a group leader, retiring in 1980.

She also worked many years with her brother at a variety store on Central Street—a stomping ground for neighborhood locals who gathered there daily to share the news of the day.

She is survived by two cousins, Araxi Ajemian and Felix Hovhannisyan, both of Armenia, and by many close friends, including Stephen and Angele Dulgarian and John and Violet Dagdigian.

She was predeceased by her brothers Casper and Varoujan—or Harry, as he was affectionately called.

A funeral service took place at St. Gregory Church, followed by burial in Lowell.

Memorial contributions may be made either to St. Gregory Church, 158 Main St., North Andover, MA 01845 or to the Lowell “ARS” Chapter, 142 Liberty St., Lowell, MA 01852.


Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian is a retired journalist with the Haverhill Gazette, where he spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer. He has volunteered his services for the past 46 years as a columnist and correspondent with the Armenian Weekly, where his pet project was the publication of a special issue of the AYF Olympics each September.

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