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Floral 09


Gerda I. Markarian

October 3, 1919 ~ August 8, 2018 (age 98)

It is with great sadness the family of Gerda Ida Markarian announces her passing from natural causes at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA, on August 8, 2018, a few weeks before her 99th birthday. She will be remembered always as a loving presence and guiding light in the lives of those she touched. She was warmhearted and always treated family, friends, and strangers compassionately and generously. Her kindliness carried over to the animal world as well. She provided protective care for the family’s menagerie of pets — sheep, goats, rabbits, dogs and stray cats. Gerda was born on October 3, 1919 in Bergedorf (Borough of Hamburg), Germany, a daughter of Henry Otto and Agnes (Seifert) Christesen. When she was three, the family immigrated to Massachusetts where Gerda graduated from Springfield Massachusetts High School of Commerce in 1938. Soon thereafter she met the love of her life, Manoog H. Markarian. They were married in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Springfield, on September 1,1940. She began her 70 year residency in Longmeadow in 1948. Following the custom of the day, Gerda devoted her life to raising a family. She volunteered in the schools and DeMolay. She taught Sunday School at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, served as Treasurer of the Women of St. Andrew’s and became a member of the Altar Guild. She delighted in working in her garden in summer and launching projects that enhanced the interior of her home in winter. Her spirit of adventure reveals itself in photos of her riding a camel in Egypt, bartering in a souk in Marrakesh, and hiking the Great Wall of China. When her husband lost a trusted employee in 1965, she stepped in “temporarily” and remained actively involved in the family Oriental rug business, Markarian & Markarian, Inc., for the next 30 years. Gerda was preceded in death by daughters Marlene and Irene; her husband of 62 years, Manoog; as well as her parents and sister, Irmgard Christesen Wood. Gerda is survived by her daughters Virginia “Ginny” Lewis (Ralph, deceased), Longmeadow, MA; Mary Jo O’Leary (Thomas), Dennis, MA; and son Paul Markarian, M.D. (Linda), Naples, FL and Longmeadow, MA. She is also survived by six granddaughters: Kimberly Yezewski, East Longmeadow, MA; Kristin Anacleto, Holden, MA; Molly Markarian, Eugene, OR; Carolyn Lichter, Tarzana, CA; Allison Lutz, Hanover, PA; Jennifer O’Leary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Also surviving are five great granddaughters; Brooke Anacleto, Emma & Elyse Yezewski, Greta & Eloise Madden. Family and friends are invited to attend visiting hours on Sunday, August 12, from 4-7PM at Forastiere-Smith Funeral Home, 220 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA. Gerda’s service will be held at the funeral home on Monday, August 13, at 10AM, with interment immediately following at Oak Grove Cemetery, Springfield, MA. The family wishes to extend its gratitude to Bay State Hospice Services for its support in Gerda’s final days. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Gerda Markarian Memorial Fund at National MS Society, 5331 SW Macadam Avenue, Suite 290, Portland, OR 97239, or online at Gerda Markarian Memorial Fund at

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