Papken Megerian
Papken Megerian

Philadelphia Community Leader Papken Megerian Dies


WYNNEWOOD, Penn. — Papken Megerian, vice chairman of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar) District Committee of the Eastern United States and Canada, publisher of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator and member of the Central Board of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada, passed away on December 25 at 5 a.m. at his home after a long sickness. Born on April 15, 1939 in Aleppo, Syria, to Garabed and Elize Megerian, survivors of the Armenian Genocide, Papken was the oldest of four siblings, though he also had three older paternal siblings from Garabed’s first wife, who died in an untimely fashion.

Papken initially worked with his father and older brothers. He married his wife, Anahid Derderian, on August 19, 1962. They met while volunteering as officers on the Giligian Elementary School Alumni Association. Their first child, Garo, was born in 1963. On July 4, 1968, Papken and his family emigrated to the United States and settled in Philadelphia, where son Aram and daughter Tanya were soon born.

Papken Megerian worked for Fidelity Bank and became vice president in charge of international banking. He left Fidelity in 1968 to embark on a successful 35-year career of owning and operating various businesses, including beverage and beer distributers, a packaged food distributor, car washes and MRI centers.

In all his activities, whether work or Armenian community life, Papken’s wife Anahid served as his unwavering confidante and supporter. He was very active in the Armenian Church, serving on the Parish Council of St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Church of Wynnewood as a member, treasurer and chairman, and as its Diocesan delegate for 24 years. He was treasurer of the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).

Megerian was one of the founders of the Philadelphia chapter of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada (TCA), and for many years was also a member of the TCA Central Board, including as its vice president. He was an active member and leader of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL), as mentioned above.

The Megerians supported many organizations and projects, including the Eastern Diocese, the Mother See of Echmiadzin, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, the Armenian Sisters Academy of Philadelphia, Our Lady of Armenia Boghossian Educational Center in Gyumri, the Armenian Diocesan Center in Javakhk, Georgia, and the Philadelphia Art Museum.

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He was a trustee of the Society of Orphaned Armenian Relief and a longtime member of the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the Knights of Vartan.

Since 2001, he visited Armenia 25 times for business, philanthropy, politics, culture and pleasure. His work did not go unnoticed, and he was given the St. Nerses Shnorhali Medal with a pontifical encyclical in 1998 by Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin I, and the St. Gregory the Illuminator Medal by Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II in 2009. On May 12, 2012 he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, and on September 28 of the same year the Armenian community of Philadelphia celebrated his award and service at a reception hosted by St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Church.

On September 21, 2013, Megerian was given the Anania Shiragatsi Medal by President Serzh Sargsyan at a ceremony in the presidential palace on the 22nd anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Armenia.

Papken Megerian was above all else a family man. He was a loving and supportive brother, brother-in-law, uncle and cousin. He loved, supported and helped all his family members with his whole heart. He leaves behind his wife Anahid; children Garo (Annette), Aram (Carla) and Tanya (Nerces) Bardakjian; and grandchildren Gregory, Cariné, Ariana, Haig, Lena, Lily, Sona and Seta.  He is also survived by his two brothers Noubar (Anie) and Hrair (Ana), sister Silva Kailian and sister-in-law Rozaline Meguerian.

Papken’s primary goal, above all else, was to raise his family to be proud of their Armenian heritage and their culture and to be leaders in their community. He taught them how to be proud, yet humble, compromising leaders, passionate workers and above all else compassionate individuals. He led by example and has left a legacy that his children and grandchildren will surely carry.

Sonia Kailian Placido, Papken Megerian’s niece, shed some light on the personal influence that her uncle has had in her life. She, along with her two sisters and brother, was raised by a single mother. Her three uncles became surrogate fathers to them and “Papken Keri” was omnipresent in their lives as they were growing up. Her uncle, she said, “was a man who thrived on helping others. Call it good or bad, but he never said no.”

His wake and funeral service took place on December 28 at a packed St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church. Kevork Marashlian, chairman of the ADL District Committee and Hagop Vartivarian, TCA Central Board Secretary, were present as representatives of the two respective organizations. Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, representing Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), as the latter was in Echmiadzin, presided over the ceremonies, with the participation of ten local clergymen of different denominations of the Armenian nation.

There were many condolences, including from Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II (see the accompanying list below) and internment was at Edge Lawn Memorial Park.

Condolence Messages

Messages of condolence were sent from the following:

Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, Echmiadzin, Armenia

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate, Diocese of the Eastern United States, New York City

Very Reverend Bishop Haigazoun Najarian, Primate, Armenian Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, Sydney, Australia

Tekeyan Cultural Association Central Board of Directors of the United States and Canada

Vartan Nazerian, President of the ADL Supreme Council, Los Angeles, Calif.

Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, Former Chairman ADL Central Committee, Montreal, Canada

ADL Eastern District Committee of the United States and Canada, Boston, Mass

Hagop Avedikian, chairman of Central Committee of the ADL, Yerevan, Armenia

Maro Bedrosian, TCA Central Board and ADL Eastern District Committee of the United States and Canada member

Panig Keshishian, TCA Central Board member

Dr. Haroutioun Arzoumanian, former President, Tekeyan Cultural Association Central Board, Montreal, Canada

Kevork Tutunjian, Chairman ADL Toronto, Canada

Rev. Bishop Mkrtich Proshyan, Primate Aragatsotn Region, Armenia

Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church Diocese of Georgia

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