Community Benefactor Martha Aramian Passes Away

Martha Aramian (right) with Dr. Samantha Power at the 2008 ANCA Eastern Region Banquet in New York, where she was honored by the ANCA and received the Vahan Kardashian Award

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Martha Aramian of Providence passed on January 11, in the loving embraces of her sisters S. Sue Aramian of New York and Margo A. Ragan of Pennsylvania, her niece Jocelyn, nephew Paul, her adored grandniece and grandnephews Emma Ragan, Luca and Bastian Micolucci, and treasured cousins Cheryl and Dianne Apkarian.

Her passion, philanthropy, and perseverance led her to personally design, create, and finally deed to the city of Providence, the Armenian Heritage Park, on the corner of Chalkstone and Douglas Avenues. The park is an homage to the Armenian community who fled the horrors of the Genocide, overcame great obstacles in this new land, and established families who went on to became leaders in business, education, medicine , politics, credits to their society.

Martha compiled a history of those families whose names are engraved on granite stones around the central monument, so that their stories will be forever memorialized.

Along with her sisters and the International YMCA, she established the Kazar and Nevart Aramian Child Care Center in Vanadzor Armenia, as a place where young Armenian children could have an educational and social experience. It immediately became clear that seniors needed a place to gather too, so she added the Zevartaran, named in honor of her aunt Zevart. Three years ago Aramian Camp was dedicated, where these same children could go for summer camp programs.

Martha’s love for children included those she didn’t even know.  She sponsored weeks of summer activity at Aramian Camp for Armenian children who were refugees from the Syrian civil conflict.  Her desire was for them to have happy memories during this difficult time.

Martha believed the Armenian Church was the cornerstone of its people; therefore, she lent her support to all the Armenian churches in Providence in many different ways. She was a dedicated member of Sts. Vartanantz Church, giving generously of her wisdom, ideas, and creativity.

When there was a need, she gave financially as well.  Martha gave, before she was asked, often anonymously. She was a supporter of the Armenian Martyr’s Memorial, the Homenetmen Scouts of the Church, the Armenian National Committee in Washington as well as in Providence, sponsor of the movie “Screamers”, an epic movie about the Genocide which was shown at the Columbus Theater, and many other events.

Martha thought of others before herself. She spearheaded the movement to rename Whipple Street, Aram G. Garabedian Way in honor of Aram’s contributions to the Armenian people. She was the driving force for placing a bronze plaque at the old ARF Mourad Club on Douglas Avenue, where the first generation of Armenian immigrants used to gather.

Martha was recognized for her generosity: she was awarded the Queen Zabel Award by the Armenian Prelacy, Woman of the Year by the Armenian Masonic Degree Team of Rhode Island, Pillar of the Prelacy, congratulatory citations from Senator Domenick Ruggierio, Mayor Scott Avedisian, and a Key to the City from then Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend Martha’s funeral ceremony at 11 o’clock on Wednesday, January 15 at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church on 402 Broadway, Providence, with internment to follow at North Burial Ground. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in her honor to Sts. Vartanantz Church.

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