His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, and the Religious and Executive Councils learned with deep grief the passing of Loretta Anahid Gelenian on July 28, 2023, at the age of 84.
Loretta, known as Lorig to her family and close friends, was born on January 20, 1939, to famous Armenian writer Hampartzoum Gelenian (Hamasdegh, 1895-1966) and Serpouhi Beghian. She grew up in West Medford, Massachusetts, and graduated from Medford High School. She attended the Palandjian Jemaran in Beirut, Lebanon, studying Armenian and teaching English in 1956-1957. Then, she studied social relations at Radcliffe, which was Harvard University’s all-female college, graduating in 1961. She went on to complete her master’s degree in education at Northeastern University in 1968. She then began an impressive vocational career, including being an administrative assistant at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C., a service representative at New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, a job analyst at John Hancock, and perhaps her most passionate venture as teacher of American history with the McCarthy School in the Chelmsford public school system for 34 years.
Loretta Gelenian was also active in the Armenian community. She was one of the founding members of the Armenian Cultural Association. She was also an active member of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society in the Boston area. She was on the executive board of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), where she was instrumental in forming the organization’s Summer Studies Program for college-aged students. Later, she was an executive in the Armenian Renaissance Association. She was a staunch supporter of the Eastern Prelacy and graciously wrote a foreword to the English translation of Hamasdegh’s House of Prayers when it was published in a bilingual edition to mark the election of Archbishop Anoushavan as Prelate in 2018.
Loretta Gelenian was predeceased by her parents, as well as her sister Armine Der Hovanesian. She is survived by her loving cousins Eleanor Gelenian Hughes, Louise Gelenian Arthur, and Judy Gelenian Zarifian and their extended families. She is also survived by Velda Jerrehian Moog and family, Nini Petrucione and family, niece Mara Der Hovanesian and many beloved friends.
The funeral services were held at St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown on Saturday, August 5, where Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, Pastor, expressed condolences on behalf of the Prelate. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Stephen’s Church.
May God illuminate her soul. Asdvadz hokeen lousavoreh.