In Loving Memory of Seta Kaligian


Photo provided by son Dikran Kaligian

Seta Kaligian, beloved wife of Barkev Kaligian and mother of four sons, passed away on November 23, 2018. She was 89 years old.

She was born Seta Shoushan Tamzarian in 1929 in Aleppo, Syria. She first grew up in Kurtkoulakh, a small Kurdish village where her father was the stationmaster on the Berlin-Baghdad Railway. She was the second eldest child and the only daughter of Vahan and Leonie (Ajemian) Tamzarian. The family moved back to Aleppo when Seta was four years old; she attended the Haigazian Armenian School and later the Lycée Jeanne d’Arc.

She studied to be a nurse at Altounyan Nursing School in Aleppo, but she was unable to complete her studies there due to civil unrest. She transferred to the Kennedy Memorial Hospital and American Missionary School in Tripoli, Lebanon and graduated as a Registered Nurse in 1955. After completing rotations at the Kennedy Hospital in Deir-el Zor, Seta moved to Beirut and worked as a nurse at the American University of Beirut Hospital. There she met similar young Armenian women, who she would befriend for life including her son Aram’s future mother-in-law.

In 1959, as unrest was brewing in Lebanon, Seta accepted a position as an exchange nurse at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and then subsequently at Bronx Hospital. In 1960 she met Barkev Kaligian through mutual friends. He asked her to be the staff nurse at Camp Haiastan in Franklin, Massachusetts during the summer of 1960. They were married in September in San Francisco where their oldest son Dikran was born. They moved back to the East Coast in 1962, where their other three sons Zohrab, Aram, and Garin were born. Eventually, they would settle down in Lexington, Massachusetts in December 1967 where they lived for the next fifty years.

Seta joined the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) in 1973 and held many positions at the chapter, regional, and international levels. During a critical period of restructuring and internationalization of the organization, she served three terms on the North American Executive and then as the first chairperson of the ARS Central Executive Board. In this capacity, Seta traveled to ARS regions around the world, utilizing her multilingualism to help knit together far-flung branches of the organization. In all, she would serve three terms on the Central Executive Board of the Armenian Relief Society International.

Seta played a leading role in the ARS Ethnic Heritage Project, which received the first federal grant for Armenian-American education ever funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The grant funded the development and distribution of educational materials for Saturday Armenian Schools nationwide. She continued this work as a board member of the Armenian National Education Committee.

Seta leaves behind Barkev, her husband of 58 years, and their sons Dikran and his wife Seda of Watertown, MA; Zohrab and his wife Holly of Kenosha, WI; Aram and his wife Lenna of Belmont, MA; and Garin and his wife Hooshere of New York City. Seta also leaves behind her brothers Vartkes of Manchester, NH, and Hrayr of Centerville, MA. Her older brother Zohrab, of Pasadena CA, passed away in 2016.

Seta was a devoted grandmother to Keri, Rosdom, and Yeraz Kaligian; Areknaz, Arakel, Azniv, and Alidz Khaligian; Gayane and Arevig Kaligian; and Araxi and Masis Kaligian. She also leaves behind many beloved cousins, nephews, and nieces.

She will always be remembered as a loving and patient sister, wife, mother, and grandmother. She was a wonderful cook, an avid reader, and an illuminating storyteller. She will also be remembered for her keen intelligence, sharp wit, and devotion to the Armenian Cause.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 11 am at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church, Artsakh Street, Watertown, Massachusetts. Graveside services will follow at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Armenian Relief Society of Eastern USA, 80 Bigelow Avenue, Watertown MA 02472, or to Camp Haiastan Inc, PO Box C, Franklin MA 02038.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. We extend our sincere and deep condolences to the Kaligian family on Seta’s passing. She was a dynamic Armenian woman; a one-of-a-kind. An educator and role model in all that she did, Seta raised 4 patriotic sons and interacted with all Armenian children as if they were hers. She influenced entire generations and her example will live on in them. Asdvadz hokin lousavore.

  2. What a terrible loss for the Kaligian family. What a terrible loss for the Armenian community! I’ve know Barkev for many decades through the AYF and met Seta almost as many years as well. Her passion for all things Armenian was unsurpassed by anyone. Always optimistic, always encouraging and always involved. Although we didn’t meet often due to distance when we did meet again she made you feel welcomed and like family. She was an inspiration to her sons and to everyone she met. I’m sure God has a very special place for her by his side.

  3. While we were never blessed with meeting Seta, her son Zohrab and his wife Holly and family are members of our church, Saint Hagop, Racine, Wi. She must have been very proud of her son and his family and their many accomplishments and dedication to our church and the Racine, WI community. Our condolences to the family and may the Lord give them peace and remembrance always.

  4. My name is Ezzeddine Babkin Kalgian. I live in Germany and I have read a sad news. The way of messages and please communicate in order to communicate with my cousins ​​Parkif: Zohrab.Garen Aram. Decran

    • Dear Azaldin, Is Papken Khalidian of Derbassieh your father? Are you the daughter who got married and moved to Germany? If so, I had been in contact with your cousin Khalil Khalidian for the past many years but lost all contact with him once the troucles broke out in Syria. Please contavct me immediately at the following address, 56 Bigelow Ave. Apt. 23 Watertown, MA 02472-2029. I am Dikran, Zohrab, Aram, and Garin’s father.

    • Dear Azaldin, It sounds like your Papken Khalidians daughter who moved to Germany quite a few years ago. For years I was corresponding with your cousin, Khalil Khalidian, but once the trouble broke out in Syria I never heard from him.that’s almost 10 years ago. Please contact me. My address is now 56 Bigelow Ave. Apt. 23, Watertown, MA 02472-2029. My telephone number is (617) 744-8689. My E-mail address is:

    • Dear Azaldin, Over two weeks ago I e-mailed you and gave you my e=mail address which is: My home address now is: 56 Bigelow Ave. Apt. 23 Watertown, MA USA If you get this message, please get in touch with me right away. I lost touch with your family almost ten years ago. I had been in close touch with your cousin, Khalil Khaledian, before the troubles started in Syria.

      it was like a miracle that I put my name in the computer where I saw Seta’s obituary notice and at the end I saw your message of condolence. I remember that years back, your grandfather Pupken had written me that byou had moved to Germany. Please give me your address so I can write to you.

    • Dear Azaldin, Again I’m hoping you will get this message and contact me immediately. My E-mail address is and my home address is 56 Bigelow Ave. Apt.23, Watertown, MA 02472-2029. Barkev Kaligian

  5. Dear Azaldin, Let me make a correction. you must be Papken’ grand daughter. The Hairenik found your e-mail address so I sent a massage to you. I’d especially like to find out about your cousin Khalil Khalidian since I had much e-mail and postal correspondence with him before the troubles broke out. I haven’t heard a word since then. Your loving cousin, Barkev

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