Narzakian Bequest a Thrifty $281,912

LOWELL, Mass.—Throughout their generous, yet unheralded lives, brother and sister Harry and Rose Narzakian lived by the rules of charity and open-heartedness. They donated to their church and political organizations, youth camps and newspapers, orphanages and other worthy causes, both here and abroad.

They never wavered toward those in need. Now, the same could be said in their demise.

Benefactors Harry and Rose Narzakian of Lowell, Mass.
Benefactors Harry and Rose Narzakian of Lowell, Mass.

A trust amounting to $281,912 has been released toward the benefit of seven beloved associations:

AYF Camp Haiastan: $80,547

St. Gregory Church of North Andover: $80,547

Armenian National Committee of America: $40,273

Armenian Weekly: $28,191

Lowell Chapter, Armenian Relief Society: $20,136

Lowell Committee, Armenian Revolutionary Federation: $20,136

Cosmic Ray Division in Armenia: $12,082

Friends of Rose and Harry call it an insurmountable act of generosity and philanthropy. The Narzakians supported each of these organizations with uncompromising foresight and benevolence.

Rose wore her 65-year membership in the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) with dignity and pride. The Lowell “Lousintak” ARS Chapter was named after her mom. She took advantage of every opportunity to be an integral part of the group, even in her twilight years, and often waged the voice of experience.

She served as a role model for the younger ungerouhis and always reminded them of their precious heritage and culture.

“If you don’t use it, you might lose it,” she often said.

Before her death in 2014, Rose donated $48,750 toward the Church Building Fund throughout four phases of construction. Her brother also contributed heavily before his passing. The trust was merely a “coup de grace.”

Harry did yeoman’s work for the church, working weekly Bingo games while engaging himself in other groups like the Men’s Club, including a decade with the Board of Trustees. Both were original members dating back to 1970.

The Narzakians were both honored with Distinguished Service Awards from the Armenian Prelacy. Those close to Harry recall his days as a proficient ballroom dancer and woodworker who often made furnishings for the church.

For years he ran a market in Lowell. It served as a mecca for the neighborhood, whether it was for the immigrant or American-born. The place often substituted for a built-in charity house.

He served as a U.S. Army Combat Medic in World War II, assigned to the 83rd Infantry Division’s Thunderbolt Unit. Harry fought notoriously from Omaha Beach, Normandy, through Brittany, St. Malo, and the Loire Valley, all the way to Luxembourg and the Elbe River.

For his dedicated service, Harry earned the American Theater Medal, the Victory Medal, and a Purple Heart for being wounded in action.

Rose was employed for 40 years with Raytheon Corporation, starting out as a bench worker before becoming a group leader, retiring in 1980. She was a 1940 graduate of Lowell High School.

Whether it was collecting food supplies for relief victims, tending to a booth and grill at the Lowell Folk Festival each July, or delving into their finances to aid a worthy cause, both symbolized the very best their ethnicity represented.

The Narzakians got to tour Armenia twice when they weren’t wintering in Florida. Rose particularly enjoyed baking Armenian pastries and sharing her recipes with others.

“I’ve lived a full time,” she said, just before her death. “The fact I was born and raised an Armenian has been a privilege and I’ve done my best to promote that.”

The Narzakian Estate they shared with others supports that passion.

Tom Vartabedian

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.
Tom Vartabedian

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