CHICAGO — Arsen Demerjian, an activist in the Chicago-Armenian community, succumbed to a heart attack on Tuesday, March 26, while visiting family in California.
He was the second child of Roupen Demerjian (Yergat), a community activist who had died early, leaving the care of his five children to his widow and brother-in-law, Yerant Fermanian.
All three Demerjian brothers — Arsen, Armen and Levon — were inspired by the commitment of their father’s community spirit. They all attended the AGBU Hovagimian-Manoukian Secondary School in Beirut, whose first graduates became involved in leadership roles as educators, writers, editors or political party leaders in Lebanon and beyond.
After graduating from high school, Arsen Demerjian attended the American University of Beirut for two years before transferring to Fresno to attend college.
Eventually, he settled in Chicago and started Sayat Nova Armenian Restaurant on Ohio Street, off the Magnificent Mile.
He and his wife, Karen, had three sons, though tragically they lost one child to leukemia. Ruben and Gregory and their families were the center of the world of Arsen and Karen Demerjian.