Anahid (Derderian) Megerian

Obituary: Anahid (Derderian) Megerian, Pillar of Philadelphia Community


PHILADELPHIA — Anahid (Derderian) Megerian passed away on November 22, 2021. She was 81.

She was born June 25, 1940 in Aleppo, Syria, to Armen and Marie (Alabashian) Derderian who were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. She was their second child and only daughter. She was a doting sister to her older brother Anto, and younger brothers Jano and Boghos.

Anahid met her husband of over 50 years, Papken, while they both served on the Giligian Elementary School Alumni Association; Anahid as the secretary and Papken as the Treasurer. Papken always said he knew from the moment he met Anahid that she would be his wife. They were married on August 19, 1962 and were blessed with their first child, Garo in 1963. Anahid worked as a school teacher before realizing her dream of emigrating to the United States on July 4, 1968. They settled in the Philadelphia area and developed deep roots in the community. In 1970 they welcomed their second son Aram and in 1972 their daughter Tanya.

After arriving in the US Anahid worked as a seamstress in a shirt factory for many years until ultimately opening her own tailor shop “Ann’s Alterations” in Newtown Square, less than a mile from her home so she could be accessible to her children. She was a talented seamstress and could alter anything. After closing the shop she served as the beading and evening gown tailor for Apropros boutique in Norristown and continued to work from her home as a seamstress and serve as the personal tailor to the entire Megerian, Derderian and Kailian family until her last breath.

Anahid was a pillar of the Armenian community. She was always quietly working behind the scenes to ensure that whatever needed to be done, for whichever organization needed it, was successfully accomplished. At St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Church, Anahid was a three-term member of the Parish Council, former chair of the Women’s Guild’s Hokejash Committee for many years, and an active member of the Youth Committee from its early inception days.

She was instrumental in bringing Khoren Mekanejian to the parish when he taught the Jr. Choir. She hosted him, in her home, preparing dinner every two weeks for him and the lay leaders of the parish who worked with him, every other Wednesday night when he came down from New York to rehearse with the children.

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As an active member of the Tekeyan Cultural Association, with which the church collaborated for the Lenten Lecture Series for a number of years, she successfully brought the community together for not just the Lenten programs, but any programs organized in our parish. Within the community-at-large, she also coordinated many events for the Armenian Democratic League, the AGBU, the Armenian Sisters Academy and the Arapkir Union.

Anahid and Papken were the benefactors of many projects in their local community, in Armenia and internationally. Their philanthropic giving includes The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern); the Mother See of Echmiadzin; the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem; the Armenian Mirror-Spectator newspaper; the Philadelphia Art Museum; the Diocesan Center in Javakhk, Georgia; the Armenian Sisters Academy, Society of Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) and Our Lady of Armenia Boghossian Educational Center in Gyumri.

When Catholicos Karekin II, gave her husband, Papken, the Krikor Lousavorich medal in 2009, he gave Anahid a special pin as a gesture of his acknowledgment and thanks for the many projects both she and Papken supported in  the local community and the greater Armenian community at large. When we did not have an active priest, she was the hostess for our visiting clergy. And when young clergy from Echmiadzin were either studying in our area or in need of medical assistance, she opened her doors to alleviate their burdens and help them heal. In 2016 Anahid was awarded Woman of the Year by the St Sahag and St Mesrob Parish.

Since 2001 she visited Armenia 25 times. She and Papken helped raise funds within the Philadelphia region for innumerable cultural, educational and religious purposes for many years, frequently hosting events in their home.

Anahid was above all else the matriarch to an extended family. She was a loving sister, sister-in-law, aunt and cousin. She loved, supported and helped them all with her whole heart.

She was an incredible mother and mother-in-law to Garo, Annette, Aram, Tanya and Nerces. She supported and loved her children and their spouses unconditionally.

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Anahid’s eight grandchildren were the center of her world, there was no title she cherished more than that of “Medzmama” to Gregory, Cariné, Ariana, Haig, Lena, Lily, Sona and Seta. Anahid’s primary goal, above all else, was to raise her family to be proud of their Armenian heritage and their culture. She taught them how to be proud, yet humble, diligent and above all else compassionate and accepting of all individuals. She led by example and has left a legacy that her children and grandchildren will surely carry. Her life-lesson to us all is best described by the following quote: “Do the kinds of things that come from the heart. When you do, you won’t be dissatisfied. You won’t be envious, and you won’t be longing for somebody else’s things. On the contrary, you’ll be overwhelmed with what comes back.”

The funeral was held on Saturday, November 27, from St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church. Burial was at Edgewood Memorial Park, 325 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills, Pa.

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