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AGBU Mourns the Loss of Globally Beloved Philanthropist Artemis Nazarian
The epitome of gracious and selfless generosity and a perpetual shining light in the Armenian world, Artemis Nazarian of New Jersey passed away on April 9th, succumbing to complications of coronavirus infection.
“No words can truly express our profound sorrow that our dear Artemis has been taken from us,” said Berge Setrakian, AGBU President. “Her passing floods our hearts and minds with so many emotions and cherished memories—not only on a personal level, but also what she represents collectively to our AGBU family. Alongside her husband, the great philanthropist and former AGBU Central Board member Nazar Nazarian, her generosity has somehow touched the life of practically every last Armenian—across communities, generations, continents, and in Armenia.”
Born in 1932 in Aleppo, Syria, Artemis (nee Topjian) could never have imagined the life of destiny she would live and the impact her tremendous heart, kind disposition, and can-do spirit would make on the lives of thousands, both worldwide and in her own community. She served on countless committees, church ladies’ guilds, and the local Englewood Women’s Club, among other civic and cultural endeavors. Her travels and adventures in pursuit of helping others supplied ample content with which to sustain her love of storytelling.
Arriving in America as a toddler, she was raised in Watertown, MA, graduated cum laude from Boston University with a degree in accounting, and met and married the would-be philanthropist Nazar Nazarian, originally from Lebanon, who was a pharmacist by education, and member of the family’s international textile company established in Beirut by his illustrious philanthropist father Levon Nazarian.
With the continued success of the family business in America and their passion to carry on the legacy of community service, the Nazarian couple became a transformative force for good that found its way into every corner and sector of Armenian community life—from the Armenian Church and AGBU schools, community centers and cultural pursuits to health centers of excellence and programs for youth, as well as for emergency humanitarian relief efforts around the world.
A patron of the arts and a firm believer in the power of education to transform lives, she supported numerous AGBU scholarships to students worldwide. What’s more, her special interest in children culminated in the opening the Artemis Nazarian Preschool of the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian school in Los Angeles.
Another lifelong devotion of hers was the Armenian Church. Her unwavering support of the Armenian Catholicisate in Etchmiadzin reflected on the Sulahian side of her maternal family tree, which according to her, boasted numerous clergy. Other family members were active in Armenian political organizations, influencing her sense of activism and community and interest in Armenian affairs.
From New York to Etchmiadzin, Beirut to Los Angeles, Buenos Aires to Aleppo, there is bound to be a plaque, eponymous building sign or photo showing Artemis beaming with pride at the opening of a center, school or health facility, surrounded by grateful beneficiaries, or humbly receiving public honors by church leaders, dignitaries and officials from a cross section of Armenian institutions.
“Her steadfast support of all things AGBU and Holy Etchmiadzin was eclipsed only by her dedication to Nazar and their children,” Setrakian went on to say, likening her to the muse to her husband, always finding projects and endeavors worthy of the family’s moral and financial support.
Her joy of giving back obviously set the example for her son Dr. Levon Nazarian and daughter Seta Nazarian, both of whom are active in the AGBU leadership as central board member and development advisor respectively, along with daughter-in-law Claudia Nazarian, current chair of multiple AGBU program committees, and William Nazarian, current chair of the AGBU Young Professionals of Greater New York and one of the Nazarians’ five grandchildren who include: William and his brother Nicholas, the sons of Seta Nazarian; and Matthew, Gregory, and Daniela, the sons and daughter of Levon and Claudia Nazarian.
“While more traditional memorials and commemorations for her are sure to follow in the future, the life and times of Artemis Nazarian tell an inspiring story all their own in both AGBU and modern Armenian history,” Setrakian noted.
I am so saddened to hear this. Mrs Nazarian is easily the warmest and most genuine woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She always made me feel like a friend and I know this was the case with anyone who was lucky enough to know her.
My sincere condolences to Mr Nazarian, Seta and Levon and Claudia and her beloved and beautiful grandchildren.
The world was truly a better place because of her. ❤️
Dear Seta and Family,
We are so sorry to hear of this devastating loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this painful time.
Jackie & Mike & family
Genevieve and Gregory Karakashian
Loving matriarch of all of us
Honored to have called her our friend, Artemis cared. Artemis shared and Artemis touched our life in a way that made us feel special . No words can express the love and respect for this fine lady.
We love you forever.
You will always be in our hearts. R.I.P
We cherish your loved ones and always be there for them.
My Sweet Nanny- Lover of Hershey’s bars (she ate one every day and called Hershey to ask if they wanted to use her in their ads!), “interesting” types of melons, sweaters with “jazzy” prints, playing solitaire and sudoku, the New York Times crossword puzzles, knitting gorgeous sweaters and baby blankets, jigsaw puzzles, the Women’s Club, playing bridge with her friends, eating peanuts at Mets games, her hometown of Watertown, MA, and most of all, her family. She taught me how to knit, how to play “Chopsticks” on the piano, and how to play 3 different types of solitaire. She was smart; she was the first female accounting graduate from her school at BU. When I put in a puzzle piece, she’d proudly exclaim, “you get that from me!” and always cheered “bravo, honey!” no matter how easy the piece I put in was. When I was a little girl, she would sneak me chewing gum from her purse (and once I knew it was there, I’d go looking for it on my own!), a special treat from Nanny that I normally wasn’t allowed to have. She was the grandparent you’d run to if someone made you upset; She was a protector. Every year on each of our birthdays, she’d call and say “the day you were born was one of the happiest days of our life.” She was a friend to every person she met. She was the sweetest, kindest, and most purely generous person I’ve ever known. We had a special bond, as I carry the “only granddaughter” title on that side. She loved to tell stories. She was tough-as-nails, and famously got her tonsils removed on her kitchen table as a child without anesthetic. She wouldn’t let me leave their house without stuffing some Hershey’s bars in my bag. She had the happiest and most calming smile that twinkled her eyes. She was truly one of a kind.
Nanny, your legacy of strength, grace, joy, and kindness lives on in each of us. I love you and I’ll miss you greatly.
Sending love + light to your beautiful soul and all the family and friends who have lost a wonderful person. I did not know you but reading about your story is inspiring and you have impacted more than just those who knew and loved you. Trusting that you will live on and watch over everyone.
May you Rest In Peace and eternal love ❤️
SARAFIAN ANTONIO Argentina
Մեր ցաւակցութիւնները կուզենք հայտնել ազգային բարերար Նազարյան ընտանիքին ։
Աստված հոգին լուսավորէ։
I have so many great memories of my Auntie Arty. Some of my oldest ones involve going to her apartment and looking out at the skyline of New York City. Spending Christmas together, going to the cotillion and having her come to Winchester to celebrate her parents and my parents anniversaries.
Davalyn, David and I loved you.
We will carry our memories of you forever.
Sincere condolences to the Nazarian family and the AGBU
Leslie Aslanian Williams
I am so very sorry to learn of this tragic news about Mrs. Nazarian's passing. She was always so kind, warm and welcoming whenever I was in her company. I will always remember her as an almost larger than life spirit whose generosity knew no bounds.
We all know of her tireless thoughtfulness, but what she did for others behind the scenes, without credit to her name, was nothing short of extraordinary and has always inspired me . They say character is what you do when no one is looking...well this lady had character to boot.
May God bless her soul and her family.
Seta and family,
We send you our deepest condolences. While I never had the pleasure of knowing your mom, I know you. And that tells me everything I know about the wonderful loving human she was.
Sending you comfort and love to you and your boys and entire family.
To Nazar, Seta, Levon and your children,
It is with great sadness that we learned the news today about the passing away of Artemis, a wonderful and loving human being that had spread so much cheer in our lives. Please know that our thoughts are with all of you in these very difficult moments.
Gerard, Wenbo and Lamia
The Rotonde Family would like to express their sincere condolences to the entire Nazarian family at this sad time.
May one day you find strength and solace in all the love and memories you all once shared together.
May The Lord rest her soul ➕🙏➕
Forty two years ago this spring, I rang a doorbell on Demarest Avenue to first meet my freshman roommate and lifelong friend, Levon. I can still remember being greeted by one of the nicest woman I had ever met, with a warm smile and wonderful laugh. After getting to know both Artemis and Nazar, it was not hard to understand how Levon acquired not only his smarts, humor and charm, but his incredibly strong family values and moral compass.
Our family mourns the loss of Artemis Nazarian, but we celebrate her incredible legacy and thank her for the many years of friendship we have had with Levon, Claudia and their wonderful family.
Sheila and Fred Small
Dear Nazar, Seta, Levon and families,
It is with a very heavy heart and many tears that we write this song of praise about our dear friend and neighbor Artemis Nazarian. Our family had the good fortune of living next door to the Nazarians for almost fifty years, during all that time we only saw smiles of friendship, caring, and affection from not only Artemis but from Nazar, Seta, Levon and their families.
We send our love to them all. Our dear Artemis will lives on forever in our memories and hearts.
With great affection,
Sheila and Freddie
Artemis radiated grace with a warm smile. That's the impression I have come away with from the first time she and I met.
And that is how I will remember her.
Tom & Ellie Ference
Glenn called us to let us know of your mother’s passing. We are deeply saddened for you and your family, especially during these harsh times when we are kept from close contact with our loved ones. We know how close you are to your family and want you to know that our thoughts and our love with you. God bless.
Tom & Ellie
We were saddened to receive word about Artemis' passing. It was always a pleasure to have her jovial and vibrant presence at family parties. There was one joke that she told us many years ago about the different priorities that residents in Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia have that was especially funny and perceptive, and we reuse it often.
Her kindness was appreciated and will be missed.
Elmon and George Kazandjian
Our sincere sympathy to the entire Nazarian Family on the loss of their beloved matriarch! God bless her soul and her memory!
Marie and Joseph Papas and Robert and Lisa Papas
To Nazar, Levon, Seta, and the entire Nazarian Family
Sending our deepest condolences to you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. May God bless her soul.
Adrienne Grace Alexanian
Artemia Nazarian's passing is not only a loss for her family but also a loss for the Armenian community. She was so proud of her Armenian roots which she loved to share . Artemis had a smile that would brighten any room that she entered, and you felt that she was always genuinely happy to see you. A cherished memory will be a picture we were asked to take together at a charity luncheon... It was my honor.
May her soul rest in peace.....
As hard as it was, she loved us. We were wild and crazy college kids who were lucky enough to meet Seta freshman year. I say lucky enough because Seta is one of those truly rare people who do nothing but give and ask for nothing in return. Seta has always had a strong influence on my character, helping to keep me on the straight and narrow path. Seta introduced me to her wonderful parents and I immediately felt like I had come home. Mrs Nazarian welcomed me with open arms and that huge smile and then offered me something to eat. There are few places where you can truly feel welcome, the Nazarian's home was always one. You can measure the impact of people by the sadness you feel even though it has been a long time. I'm really sad.
Dear Mr. Nazarian, Seta, Levon, Claudia, and all the beautiful grandchildren
I am so sad to hear of the passing of Mrs. Nazarian. She was truly a wonderful person with so much love to give. Although I don't live close by, my memories of visiting at her home in Englewood Cliffs will always stay with me from my teenage years. I know she is watching over her family from heaven and is so proud of all of you. There is comfort in knowing that she loved all of you so much.
My sincere condolences
Bob and Barbara Azarik
I had the honor of working as a trainer and therapist. She always worked hard, was open to new challenges and persevered to get even the hardest exercises correct. She was hard working and caring and I will miss her.
Amy Reinstein Augenstein
I met Artemis shortly after meeting my best friend Seta during her freshman year at Wesleyan and Artemis welcomed me with warmth and enthusiasm that first school break as she did all the forty plus years thereafter for delicious Armenian meals and wonderful conversations about all facets of life. Artemis gave me much solace when I lost my own mother and I will always cherish the guidance she gave me during dark times. I have watched the love and devotion between Seta and Artemis on an almost daily basis and I also know how many other lives have also been enriched immeasurably by her warmth, generosity, compassion, kindness , intelligence, humor, curiosity and interest in others. She will live on through all who have loved her. I have witnessed all of her qualities in my cherished Seta and in Artemis’s devoted grandsons William and Nick. Their bonds are timeless.
May her memory ,as her life, be a heritage of love.
Սիրելի Պրն. Նազարեան,
Միայն լաւ յուշեր ունինք Տիկ. Արտեմիսին մասին: Ծնողքս, Յովսէփ եւ Մարիա, վայելեցին Ձեր ջերմ բարեկամութիւնը, շեշտելով միշտ Արտեմիսին անմիջականութիւնը, հիւրընկալ բնաւորութիւնը, թէ Ձեր օճախի մէջ, թէ՝ տարբեր երկրներում, Բարեգործականի ծիրէն ներս շրջագայութիւններու ատեն: Պայծա՜ռ անձնաւորութիւն էր ան: Աստուած լոյսերու մէջ պահէ:
Յովսէփ Եուսէֆեանի ընտնիք
We are saddened to have to say goodbye to my beloved Auntie Artemis, a true humanitarian and a compassionate person who reached out to many across communities.
Every time I see Hershey’s chocolate, I think of her, every time I get an email from Dwight Englewood School, I remember the first day she took me to the school at age 16. She was the family historian documenting and preserving family stories. Last time I talked to her we talked about Liza’s engagement, seeing our family growing brought her so much joy.
Her memories remain forever in our hearts.
Dearest Levon , Claudia, Nazar, Seta and Family,
I met your mom when we were in middle school at HM. When I rang the doorbell, a big glowing smile and a big HELLO beckoned me into the kitchen where your mom was busy making a dessert on a stick. I'd never seen phyllo dough worked with a stick into a delicate donut with honey and nuts in the middle. I'll never forget your mom offering me that first delicious taste of Armenia, giving me my first introduction to delicious Armenian burma. For the rest of our high school years, I loved to come to your home on Saturdays after our busy week at HM, your mom always meticulously having prepared our dinner before dressing up so elegantly with your dad for their formal evenings.
On behalf of my mom Rio, my sister Tina, and me, our heartfelt sympathy for not only your loss but for our loss and our world's loss of a wonderful mother, grandmother, wife, mentor, and friend.
Kenny Chiang and the Chiang Clan
Haig and Elza Didizian
Haig and Elza Didizian
We heard the sad and shocking news of your dear wife, Artemis’ passing. We would like to express our deepest sympathies to you and to your daughter, Seta, your son, Levon, and their families.
Our sincere condolences go to your extended families, the Nazarians, the Setrakians and the Markarians.
Haig and Elza Didizian
Parsegh and Ani Kartalian
Beloved benefactor Nazar Nazarian and the extended Nazarian family
We deeply mourn the untimely loss of our deepest LADY Artemis and extend to you our deepest sympathies on this very day of Easter merelotz. A million words are not enough to express our feelings for this SAD, SAD loss. God bless her soul and give you and yours heavenly comfort .
Parsegh and Ani Kartalian and children Raffi and Lara (Yadegarisn) and their families
My beloved cousin and "Guardian Angel"
My dearest Artemis, you slipped away so unexpectedly. All through my life in New York City, you stood beside me like a pillar, not just as a cousin, but as a 'big sister' and guardian angel, always reassuring me that you were always there if I needed you. The family times we spent together in New Jersey were a source of great joy. The pride I felt that you were so loved and respected by all those who came to know you through your kindness and benevolence, always ready to jump into action where and when needed. Together with Nazar, you stood not only beside me but also in the larger sense beside your community and church worldwide. How I shall miss you, but you will live in my heart for the rest of my life, until we meet again.
Hagop Shahe and Olympia Jebejian
Dear Nazar, Seta, Levon and Claudia, Sirelee Artemis.
As the entire world is in critical turmoil due to the corona virus calamity, your so unfortunate passing away because of this situation took a very central and focal point in the hearts of those who loved you dearly. Undoubtedly the entire community echoes (including us as cousins) our deepest and sincerest sympathy to your family at large. Dearest Artemis, you were a colossal individual in your contributions to your Armenian and at large non Armenian pursuits.
We Loved You Dearly.
Shahe and Olympia Jebejian
I can only imagine how harsh this must be for you and your family. I didn't know your mom but from her pictures she looks so kind and lively and beautiful. It must be such a shock for you... I am so sorry that you have lost her physically but I hope that your memories will sustain you. Please know that I share you r sadness. This virus is incredibly cruel.
Ես Խորին ցավակցություններս եմ հայտնում Մեծ Հայի,Հարգարժան տիկինի մահվան կապակցությամբ։
Ատված հոգին լուսավորե
Dear Ammo Nazar, Dr. Levon, Claudia, Seta and the Nazarian Grandchildren,
It's with heavy heart I join the Nazar Nazarian family to pay my respect and sincere condolences on the passing of an extraordinary individual, a caring HUMAN Being, a great Armenian, Art lover, mother & grandmother . . . A "khussum"... a cousin relative.. As Mrs. Artemis Nazarian used to call me..․. At every encounter she had many jokes and anecdotes from her life,, her Hershey story, her pride in her grandchildren, Years ago she won the Holy Martyrs Armenian Day school's fundraising Cadillac prize . She was so happy that I was (At the time the principal of the school) was on the other end of the telephone to inform her about her winning. From there on she was so helpful to boost our fundraising events for the benefit of Armenian Education and culture! On a personal level we were so honored when the entire Nazarian family along with Nazar & Artemis as well as Dr. & Mrs. Levon and Claudia Nazarian with their three children were present at my son Garen's wedding. They were so proud that Garen was specialized under the tutelage of Dr. Levon Nazarian in the same field. Too many fond & precious memories to remember! Rest in peace Artemis! With sincere affection -The Boghosians- Missak, Zarmine, Ara, Joyce, Garen, Diana - 2020-ի ահաւոր դահիճ թագաժահրը մէկը միւսին ետեւէ կը հնձէ սիրելիներ՝ առանց խնայելու տարիք թէ սեռ։ Միմիայն անցնող շաբթուան ընթացքին տասը հարազատ-ծանօթ անձնաւորութիւններու գուժը ծանրօրէն խոցեց իրենց հարազատներուն հետ մե՛ր ալ սիրտը- ինչպէս նաեւ - Մեր սիրելի հարազատ ազգային բարերար Տիկին Արտեմիս Նազարեանին։ Աստուած հոգին լուսաւորէ եւ մխիթարութիւն պարգեւէ բոլոր հարազատներուն։
Վշտակից ենք ձեզի։
Յիշատակն արդարոց Օրհնութեամբ եղիցի։
Tanya and Fred Panetto
God Bless Artemis Nazarian
We are praying and thinking of you all during this time of tremendous loss. What an incredible person and wonderful legacy!