By Aram Arkun
WATERTOWN – Robert A. Semonian, known to all as Bob, is a sociable and outgoing man. He has a knack for making friends, and for connecting friends who might be able to help one another. As an Armenian, he has used his skills to help his fellow Armenians whenever possible, while pursuing success in work and American politics.
Semonian’s good friend Saro Khachikian, a real estate appraiser in Peabody, Mass., said, “Bob’s ability to see positive qualities in people has always amazed me. Identifying strengths in an individual is a key skill which he has mastered. He is also a virtuoso networker. The combination of these two qualities has produced valuable results over the years, as he has brought together numerous individuals capable of assisting one another. A positive attitude, a contagious smile, persistence and a wicked sense of humor are some of the tools utilized by this ‘Improper Bostonian’ [see below] to benefit his friends and the community.”
Semonian has been undergoing treatment for cancer since last October. He is facing it with optimism and courage. Fortunately, as his brother Leon Semonian pointed out, he has had a tremendous amount of support.
Semonian’s father came to the US from the Veri Tagh (Upper Quarter) of Kharpert prior to the Armenian Genocide, while his mother, born in the village of Hussenig, came later. His father lived in Boston, first running a restaurant and then a grocery store. Semonian’s mother’s family came to the US before the Armenian Genocide, but they had a thriving bakery back in their village which they did not want to give up. They stayed and were slaughtered, while his mother, an orphan, was brought to the US by her uncle to Rhode Island.