Araxy (Meguerditchian) Toomajanian of Needham passed away peacefully with her family by her side on October 9, 2021 after a long illness. She was 88 years old.
Araxy was the beloved wife of the late Vasken Toomajanian. Loving mother of Sosi and her husband Vartan Chilingaryan; Garo and his husband Marc Harpin; and Haig Toomajanian. Cherished grandmother of Raffi Chilingaryan. Loving sister of Dikran Meguerditchian and his wife Maro. Araxy was predeceased by her sister Asdghig Nassar, as well as a sister Arpine and brother Vahe, both of whom died in childhood. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews. She is also survived by thoughtful caregivers and the many friends she made serving the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) and through her work in the development office at Wellesley College for 20 years.
Araxy was born in Nazareth, Palestine to orphaned Armenian Genocide survivors Meguerditch Meguerditchian of Moush and Florentza Der Margossian of Sepastia.
Always an extremely selfless, caring and compassionate woman, Araxy put the concerns of others first: her mother, aunt and uncle, neighbors, friends and the community at large, and especially her children. She was a proud member of the ARS for over 25 years, first with the Watertown “Soseh” Chapter and then as a founding member of the Greater Boston “Javo” Chapter. She served on the ARS Central Executive in the mid-1980s. She volunteered for several years in the ARS Social Service Center office that was once housed at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center in Watertown, helping many elderly Armenians in the community. Araxy instilled her strong Armenian spirit and values in her children.
She built many close friendships that lasted decades, keeping in touch with primary school classmates who lived overseas and across the country. She also found friends later in life in the Armenian community; her colleagues from Wellesley College also made her work fun and rewarding. After retiring, she enjoyed meeting with her Wellesley book club and bridge friends.
Araxy also valued learning and knowledge. After her father died, she had to leave school early in order to work and help her family. She always lamented that she was unable to continue her education after eighth grade. But she made up for it and took it upon herself to learn English as a child in Palestine. When her family was displaced to Lebanon, she worked as a secretary for United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. After she came to the United States, she got her GED and passed on her great love of learning to her children and grandson.
Music was also an important part of Araxy’s life. She sang in a church choir while growing up in Haifa. In Beirut, she joined the Koussan Chamber Choir under the direction of Parsegh Ganatchian. She loved telling stories of singing with this choir and was so proud to have been a part of it. When her family immigrated to the United States in 1956 as Palestinian refugees, she joined the Komitas Choral Society of Boston, during which time she met her future husband Vasken Toomajanian. Vasken noticed Araxy waiting for a bus one day; he offered her a ride and found out she was on her way to Cambridge to take classes at the Harvard Extension School. The couple continued to sing with the Komitas Choral Society for many years; they also joined the St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church choir. She retained her love of music to her final days and would often break out in song when a phrase or circumstance reminded her of certain lyrics.
Her children would like to thank the hospice nurses, aides and overnight caregivers, especially Gygy Registre, who lovingly looked after Araxy during her illness. These caretakers appreciated Araxy’s strength, warmth and sense of humor, which seemed to sharpen as she got older and quickly put others at ease.
Visiting hours will be held at the Aram Bedrosian Funeral Home, 558 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown, on Thursday, October 14, from 11 am to 1 pm, followed by a service there at 1:00 p.m. Burial will be in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, immediately following the visitation and services. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the ARS of Eastern USA, 80 Bigelow Avenue, Watertown, MA 02472.