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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.

In Memoriam: Carol Norigian

carol-norigian-obitIt is with great sadness that we inform you that Carol Norigian of Boynton Beach, Florida, formerly of Cranston, RI, died unexpectedly on Saturday, October 29, 2016. Carol was born December 16, 1942 in Providence, RI, the youngest child of the late Bedros Peter Norigian and Satenig (Proodian) Norigian.

Carol is survived by her siblings, Marion Der Vartanian, Gerald G. Norigian (Lillian) and Zaven Richard Norigian (Rose), and was the sister of the late Deacon A. Edward Norigian. She was also the sister-in-law of Dolores Norigian and the late Harry C. Der Vartanian. Carol was the cherished aunt of Chris Der Vartanian, Lisa Lombardo (Anthony), Sharon D’Antuono (Robert), Tania Alexander (Gary), Zaven Norigian (Shawn), and Gregory Norigian. She was the Godmother of Patricia Rendine (Paul) and Peter Babigian (Nadya).She had several grandnieces/nephews including Alexandra Lombardo, Matthew, Michael and Amara D’Antuono, and Luke and David Alexander.

Carol was sincerely devoted to the Armenian Church and several Armenian organizations. She was a member of St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, Florida, and Sts. Sahag & Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church in Providence, RI. She played significant roles in related organizations of each Church, namely the Parish Council and Womens’ Guild, and, additionally, was a Diocesan Delegate representative. Carol also had several leadership positions in organizations such as the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian General Benevolent Union, and the Armenian Students’ Association which has been vital in awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to students of Armenian descent without political bias.

Most importantly, Carol would light up a room wherever she went. She was truly loved by all who knew her and she will be dearly missed.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend her funeral service on Thursday, November 3rd at 10:00 a.m. in Sts. Sahag & Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church, 70 Jefferson Street, Providence, RI, 02908, followed by burial at Swan Point Cemetery, Providence. VISITING HOURS will be held on Wednesday, November 2nd from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the NARDOLILLO FUNERAL HOME & Crematory 1278 Park Avenue, Cranston, RI. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Sts. Sahag & Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church at the address above, or St. David Armenian Church at 2300 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431.

In Memoriam: Meline Manoukian

Melanie ManoukianMeline Manoukian of Boca Raton, Florida passed away at Hospice in July 2015. She had been a resident of Boca Raton since 2003 coming from the Boston area. Meline was born in Istanbul, Turkey to parents who survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Meline’s husband Berj, who recently passed away, loved her so much he called for her to rest with him in everlasting peace.

My mom was a true mom. She was wonderful, special, caring, loving, giving, generous, kind and sacrified for all. I thank you for everything you taught and did for me; you will always be in my heart. Love your daughter, Melinda.

Meline was a member of the Armenian Church Women’s Guild and the Daughters of Vartan. Meline is survived by her children and grandchildren.

Services will take place on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 beginning at 5:00 p.m. at St. David Armenian Church, 2300 NW 51st St., Boca Raton, FL.

Burial will be at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA in the near future. In lieu of flowers, Melinda and Melissa request donations be made to either St. David Armenian Church of Boca Raton, FL; St. Mary Armenian Church of Hollywood, FL; or St. James Apostolic Armenian Church of Watertown, MA.

For more information, or to offer your condolences, please visit the Glick Family Funeral home page for Melanie here.