In Memory of Agnes B. Karanian

1924 - 2021

Agnes B. Karanian (1924 – 2021)

Agnes B. Karanian of New Britain, Connecticut passed away on June 15, 2021. She was 97 years old. Agnes was born in 1924 in Pawtucket, RI, to Osgean and Houstian Barsoian. Her parents were both from the Sebastia region of Armenia and were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Agnes was their first-born child in the US.

Agnes was predeceased by her husband Henry Zareh Karanian who passed away on October 28, 2008. Agnes and Henry were happily married for 60 years and lived almost all of their married lives in New Britain. Agnes was also predeceased by her brothers, Harry Barsoian, Matthew Barsoian and Ernest Yeghian, and by her sister Lucy Balemian, all from Pawtucket.

Agnes was a proud member of Connecticut’s Armenian-American community. She was a member of the Ladies’ Guild of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in New Britain and served as a national delegate to the Convention of the Armenian Church. She served as President of the New Britain Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), and she also taught Armenian history to children at the local Saturday Armenian school.

Agnes and Henry raised four sons in New Britain, each of whom has survived them both: Robert (and his wife Andrea) of Avon, Conn., William (and his wife Denise) of Kensington, Conn., Philip (and his wife Nancy) of West Hartford, Conn., and Matthew of Pasadena, Calif. Agnes also leaves her grandchildren Alanna, Caroline, Colleen, Elyssa, Genevieve, Jarod and Justine and great-grandchild Violet. Additionally, Agnes leaves her dear godchildren Carolyn, Charlene and Jennifer and her many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Everyone who knew Agnes loved her and became endeared to her because of her friendly disposition and lively spirit. Agnes’ many friends in Connecticut and Rhode Island included her dearest friend Adrienne Dodakian of Old Lyme and the late Liz Haroian of New Britain, as well as many friends from St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church and from The Armenian Church of the Holy Resurrection, both in New Britain.

Agnes enjoyed cooking and baking, and often baked choreg and simit cookies, or cooked dolma or manti or other Armenian delicacies, using old Armenian recipes that had been passed down to her from her mother or shared with her by her many friends. Despite her expertise in baking and cooking, the dessert treat that Agnes professed to enjoy the most was coffee-flavored ice cream. She enjoyed spending summers at the beach in Old Lyme, and she sometimes even ventured into the water, briefly. She loved music. She also loved dancing. She looked forward to the summer picnics of the Armenian churches of New Britain, Conn., of Watertown, Mass., and of Providence, RI, where there was an abundance of Armenian music and where she could participate in Armenian line-dancing with her friends and family from those communities.

Calling hours will be held from 9:30 am to 10:30 am on Saturday, June 19, 2021 at the sanctuary of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain, Conn. The funeral service will begin at 11 am, also at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church, where Agnes and Harry were married in 1948. It’s also the same church at which Agnes and Henry baptized each of their four sons. The funeral will be followed by a private burial service. Agnes’ family is thankful to the doctors and nurses at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, Conn., for the kindness and compassionate care they provided to Agnes. In lieu of flowers, Agnes had expressed the wish that donations instead be made to one or more of the following: The Armenia Tree Project, 400 West Cummings Park, Suite 3900, Woburn, Mass. 01801; The Armenian Relief Society, 80 Bigelow Ave., Watertown, Mass. 02472; and St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain, Conn.

From the Armenian Weekly Editorial Board:

Agnes Karanian was a loyal and lifelong reader of the Armenian Weekly and the Hairenik newspapers. She had subscribed continuously to our historic print for 70 years without interruption and was even featured twice in articles written by her son and Armenian Highland author Matthew Karanian. We extend our deepest condolences to the Karanian family during this time of loss. 

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. I am so sorry to hear this news. My parents were friends with Henry and Agnes through the New Britain community and church. Truly a wonderful person and her legacy is the wonderful memories and family she raised. Our condolences to the Karanian family. Asdvatz Hokin Louysavoreh.

  2. Agnes Karanian was a great lady, a wonderful friend, a devoted wife, a loving mother and grandmother. For me she was a role model; someone who I admired as a loving wife and mother. A very proud Armenian who was devoted to her church and community. She was all that and more and she will be sorely missed. God Bless her soul and may she rest in peace with her beloved Henry.

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