By Hagop Vartivarian
NEW YORK — The patriarch of the Nazarian clan, Garbis L. Nazarian, died on February 8 at age 99. The great benefactor of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) died in Beirut.
He was born in Aintab, Cilicia, on April 24, 1915 to the family of Levon and Satenig Nazarian, and moved to Aleppo as a result of the Armenian Genocide. There at a young age he joined his father’s textile business. After he moved with his family to Beirut, he participated in the AGBU’s Armenian Youth Association, and was a member of its central executive for many years. Similarly he was part of the AGBU Regional Committee of Lebanon and was its chairman for a long period. He collaborated with organizations close to the AGBU, especially with the leadership of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADLP, or Ramgavar), including Mikayel Natanian, Prof. Parounag Tovmassian and Maitre Hrachya Setrakian.
The good deeds of the Nazarian clan originate in the family’s past, from Persia. The Nazarian brothers, Nubar and Nazar, and their sister, Marie Markarian, continued their father’s kind mission, helping various educational, philanthropic and publishing organizations. First, in memory of their father, they had the Levon G. Nazarian School built in Beirut’s Sin-el-Fil neighborhood.
During the years of the Lebanese civil war, Garbis Nazarian remained in Lebanon and with solicitous care contributed to various needs of the Lebanese Armenians. It must also be noted that the Nazarians remained faithful to the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin. Their large-scale contributions to it continue to this very day. They believed in the principle of the predominance of Holy Echmiadzin from the beginning, and during the sad events of 1957 they remained firmly at the side of the law-abiding and oath-keeping Brotherhood of Cilicia.