By Carla Garabedian
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Groong) — Martin Marootian, a retired pharmacist who became the chief plaintiff in a landmark class-action suit against New York Life Insurance Company, died Friday of natural causes at his home here. He was 95.
Marootian was born in New York. His parents, who were from Kharpert, escaped the Genocide, but their family was massacred. Marootian grew up in New Haven and Providence, RI, toughing out the Depression with factory jobs. One of them was as an apprentice in the costume jewelry factory of Mr. Heditsion — whose son would later become the actor, David Hedison. Marootian met Hedison many years later, saying how grateful he was that his father gave him a skill.
Graduating from the Connecticut School of Pharmacy in 1939, Marootian served with the Yale Medical Unit in the South Pacific. He met his future wife, Seda Garapedian, at a church picnic and began a new life in Southern California in 1955.
The Marootians were involved in the Armenian Allied Arts, the Armenian Film Foundation, St. Gregory’s Armenian Church, USC Friends of Armenian Music and the Armenian Professional Society, which honored Martin with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.
Marootian never forgot his relatives who died in Kharpert. To anyone who visited, his study was a treasure trove of books, survivor testimonies and newspaper clippings about the Armenian Genocide. Year after year, like so many Armenians, he took part in commemoration events to acknowledge the Genocide.