In Memory of Loretta A. Gelenian


It is with profound sadness that we announce the unexpected passing of Loretta Anahid Hamasdegh Gelenian on July 28, 2023, at the age of 84.

Loretta, known as Lorig to her family and close friends, was born on January 20, 1939, to Armenian writer and poet Hampartzoum Gelenian (Hamasdegh) and Serpouhi Beghian. She grew up in West Medford, Massachusetts, and attended Medford High School before moving on to study social relations at Radcliffe, which was Harvard University’s all-female college, graduating in 1961. Gelenian then attended the Palandjian Djemaran in Beirut, Lebanon, studying Armenian and teaching English. Following this, Gelenian went on to complete her master’s degree in education at Northeastern University in 1968. She then began an impressive vocational career, including being an administrative assistant in Washington D.C. at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a service representative at New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, a job analyst at John Hancock, and perhaps her most passionate venture, a beloved teacher of American history with the McCarthy School in the Chelmsford public school system for 34 years.

Gelenian had a true love of reading and learning and nurtured this love and curiosity by traveling around the world, meeting new people and seeing new places, spreading her kindness and intelligence to all those around her. Some of the many places that she enjoyed visiting were Egypt, Syria, Jerusalem, major cities in Europe, the Soviet Union, as well as Armenia, Hong Kong and Bangkok. She also loved and had a talent for various arts and crafts and spent many hours working on her beloved dollhouses, as well as quilting and creating unique cards for different occasions. Gelenian developed an interest in horticulture and formed an active garden club while she was living in Chelmsford.

Gelenian also felt it important to be active in the Armenian community. She was one of the founding members of the Armenian Cultural Association. She was also an active member of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society in the Boston area. Gelenian was on the executive board of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) where she was instrumental in forming the organization’s Summer Studies Program for college-aged students. Later, she was an executive in the Armenian Renaissance Association. Gelenian also believed in being politically active and was a delegate of the Democratic National Convention, a cause in which she believed strongly.

Loretta was predeceased by her parents Hampartzoum (Hamasdegh) and Serpouhi Gelenian, as well as her sister Armine Der Hovanesian. She is survived by her loving cousins Eleanor Gelenian Hughes, Louise Gelenian Arthur, and Judy Gelenian Zarifian and their extended families. She is also survived by Velda Jerrehian Moog and family, Nini Petrucione and family, niece Mara Der Hovanesian and many beloved friends.

Visitation hours will be at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown on Saturday, August 5 from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and the funeral service will begin at 12:30 pm. A memorial meal will immediately follow the church services downstairs in the church hall. Family and friends are kindly invited to attend.

Cemetery services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Stephen’s Church.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

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

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