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In Memoriam: Melkon Tersakian

Melkon Tersakian, a 35-year resident of Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach, passed away prematurely on March 29, 2019. He was 65 years old. He leaves behind a son Michael, a daughter Olivia of Deerfield Beach, a sister Marta Batmasian (James) of Boca Raton, as well as nephews, cousins and relatives all over the world.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 11:00am at St. David Armenian Church, 2300 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, FL 33434. Burial service will follow at Boca Raton Cemetery, 451 SW 4th Ave., Boca Raton, FL 33431.

Following services, family and friends are welcome to a memorial meal (hogejash) in Mardigian Hall, St. David Armenian Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Melkon Tersakian may be made to St. David Armenian Church.

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In Memoriam: David Mnatsakanian

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David Mnatsakanian

Florida Armenians mourn the sudden and tragic loss of David Mnatsakanian of Boynton Beach, FL who recently passed away. He was 22 years old. We extend our deepest condolences to his family in their time of grief. We pray for the rest of his soul in peace, and ask Almighty God to grant comfort to all those who feel his loss.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral service on Wednesday, November 23rd at 12:00 pm, at St. David Armenian Church, 2300 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431.  There will be a private viewing for the family only on Wednesday at 10:30 to 11:15 am, then for friends at 11:15 am to 12:00.

Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday, November 22nd from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm in the Quattlebaum Funeral Home, 6411 Parker Avenue, West Palm Beach. Prayer service will start at 8:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alex & Marie Manoogian School of St. David Armenian Apostolic Church, 2300 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431.

Goodbye, My Friend: A Tribute to Dr. H. Martin Deranian

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Dr. H. Martin Deranian

By Jack Danielian
FLArmenians Guest Columnist

It is so difficult to accept the loss of Dr. Martin Deranian. He was a close and enduring friend of mine. After 40 years of deep talk about Armenians and the Armenian Genocide, our relationship opened up difficult areas layer by layer of our inner responses to the family trauma we inherited. Over many years we began to see the true intergenerational repercussions of Genocide. Martin, my friend, you never gave up on yourself or on me. How can I thank you?

Martin and I had many commonalities in our personalities and our cultural backgrounds. We were both products of proud residents of Hussenig, people who had deep roots in their soil and treasured their village life. The following (Deranian, 1994) are an Elegy and Lamentation by Hussenig survivors:

An Elegy

Alas, my beautiful village is now in ruins,

And I am deprived of seeing it ever again.

I have shouldered the burden of old age,

As I sit beneath the sky of a foreign land,

I sing your praises each day with gladness.

I only wish I had a handful of your soil.

A Lamentation

I remember thee day and night.

I will give all that I have for the sight of your mountains.

There is no other place like it anywhere in the world.

Hussenig is the name of my birthplace.

I do not have a precious gift to offer thee,

Except to keep your glorious memory alive in me.

These memories drawn from an abyss speak to an incalculable loss. The abyss could not be assimilated. Martin and I could do nothing but stand by and try to touch it. Yet, taking it in bit by bit we opened ourselves to the chaotic void it created for our ancestors and of course in the process exposed ourselves emotionally to the vulnerabilities laid bare. Such is the intergenerational nature of Genocide.

I have only shared with you a few treasured interactions with Martin over 40 years. But Dr. H. Martin Deranian was a true gift to all Armenians (and of course to non-Armenians) as well. He was a pioneer in his investigations of valuable Armenian history as it interacted with the Western world. He brought President Calvin Coolidge & The Armenian Orphan Rug to worldwide attention in 2013 and 2014.

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(L-R): Armenian National Institute Director Dr. Rouben Adalian, Armenian Assembly of America Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, Florida Armenians Founder Taniel Koushakjian, Dr. H. Martin Deranian holding his book ‘President Calvin Coolidge & the Armenian Orphan Rug,’ Ambassador of Armenia to the U.S. Tigran Sargsyan at the official unveiling of the Armenian Orphan Rug at the White House Visitors Center, Washington, D.C. on November 18, 2014.

Martin was a courageous man. For most of us watching his ever-deepening involvement with the Armenian Genocide, his most incredible undertaking was plunging headlong into his dear mother Varter’s unfathomable suffering in Anatolia. I will not go into the suffering of Varter in this remembrance except to say that her Anatolian oppressors engaged in heartbreaking treachery to force Varter’s children to be abandoned in a dry well. Of course these were Martin’s half-siblings as well. In 1980 Dr. Deranian published in Ararat Quarterly the full harrowing tale of “The Wailing Well” and the piece was republished in 1994 by the Armenian Heritage Press.

The story of Varter also became the centerpiece of a play by Martin’s long-time friend, playwright Joyce Van Dyke, first produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in association with Suffolk University. The utterly personal nature of the play is brought home by Joyce calling Dr. Deranian the “godfather of the play” and by the fact that Joyce herself is a descendant of Armenian Genocide survivors, her grandmother a witness to the massacres, and Varter’s life-validating friend.

Jack Danielian PhD, is a psychologist and psychoanalyst, and dean of the American Institute for Psychoanalysis. Dr. Danielian is a friend of FLArmenians and has given his expressed written consent to publish his tribute, which originally appeared in the Armenian Mirror Spectator.

The obituary detailing the life of Dr. H. Martin Deranian is available here.