May 28 Celebration in Fresno

Vartouhi Rose Megerdichian bequeaths $200,000 to Fresno ARF chapter

FRESNO–Fresno’s Armenian community gathered at the Asbarez Armenian Center on May 22 to celebrate the 86th anniversary of Armenia’s first independence. Organized by the PR committee of Fresno’s Soghomon Tehlirian ARF chapter–the event drew not only ARF members and members of affiliate organizations–but also a large number of supporters. ARF Central Committee Representative Hovig Saliba delivered the Keynote address.

To highlight the day’s celebrations–it was announced that approximately $200,000 from the late Vartouhi Rose Megerdichian will would be forwarded to the Fresno Soghomon Tehlirian ARF Chapter–and that the main hall of Asbarez Center would be named the Vartouhi Rose Megerdichian hall.

Vartouhi Megerdichian was born in Beirut–Lebanon in 1921–and was the middle child of Michael and Nouritsa Akelian.

Growing up in Lebanon–Vartouhi became interested in drama and joins the Hamazkayin Kaspar Ipegian Theatre group–in which she plays many a great roles.

In 1960–Vartouhi marries American Armenian Megerdich Megerdichian–and relocates to Waukegan–Illinois–where she becomes a member of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS). The following year–the couple is blessed with daughter Julie Rose.

Along with her family–Vartouhi moved to Fresno in 1964 and continues her work in the ARS–along with committed friends Sophia Hagopian–Marta Jamushian–and others.

Last year–Vartouhi and her daughter Julie Rose died in a car accident. The news of their tragic death shook the entire Fresno Armenian community.

The celebrations officially opened with a prayer offered by spiritual leader Vahan Gostanian–followed by a brief history of May 28–1918 by Armenian school principal Rosine Bedrossian.

Fresno ARF chapter representative Viken Yepremian–in presenting the message of the chapter–also conveyed that four youth had been inducted into the ARF ran’s only hours before.

In speaking about the fateful events of May 28–Keynote speaker Saliba said "The ARF’s strength comes not only from our members–but also from those who stand by our side to uphold and protect the rights of the Armenian nation–whose life is filled to celebrate the victories of his nation–and address its concerns; these individuals are in effect Tashnagtsagans."

Bedrossian conveyed Vartouhi Rose Megerdichian’s biography–and invited Yepremian–who detailed the conditions of Vartouhi’s will.

Yepremian revealed that before her death–Vartouhi transferred the sum of $200,000 to her friend Adrine Postoian–asking that on her death–the sum be donated to the organization of her choice. Postoian decided to allocate the sum to the Fresno ARF Chapter.

Taking the stage and holding back tears–Postoian recounts the life and achievemen’s of the late Vartouhi Rose Megerdichian.

Vartouhi’s priorities in life–tells Postoian–were her family–Armenian education–and knowledge–as a knowledgeable mother–she guided her daughter Julie–an active Homenetmen member–as such.

For more that 36 years–Vartouhi is a member of the Ladies Guild of Fresno’s Holy Trinity Church–visiting the residents of the Armenian nursing home once a week with gifts–and traditional Armenian meals–and offering kind words for hours on end.

Vartouhi carried a beautiful heart filled with the endearing qualities of a mother and a devout patriot. She gave selflessly to all. The Fresno Armenian community will forever remember them with feelings of obligation and love.

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