Tribute to Late Tom Vartabedian Takes Place Saturday

Tom Vartabedian appeared numerous times on WHAV’s Open Mike Show. Marc Lemay talks with Vartabedian during this interview.

Tom Vartabedian.

Tom Vartabedian.

A tribute to the late Haverhill Gazette reporter Tom Vartabedian is taking place Saturday night in North Andover.

Vartabedian, who died in November following a battle with cancer, was 76. Vartabedian joined The Gazette as a sportswriter in 1966 when it was a daily newspaper and extended his career to include feature stories, pictures, news events and his Poor Tom’s Almanac column, which began in 1970 and continued in retirement up until his death.

The tribute, with proceeds benefiting the Armenian Weekly and Armenian National Committee of Merrimack Valley, takes place Saturday, March 4, at 6 p.m., at Jaffarian Hall, St. Gregory Armenian Church, 158 Main St., North Andover. Tickets are $45 per person or $15 for students. For reservations, call Armen Jeknavorian at 978-256-2538 or email [email protected], or call Ara Jeknavorian at 978-251-4845 or email [email protected]. Checks may be made payable to Armenian Werekly or ANC of Merrimack Valley and mailed to “A Tribute to Tom,” c/o Armen Jeknavorian, 15 Summit Ave., Chelmsford, MA 01824.

Through his tenure, Vartabedian won a number of awards and accolades, including that of Master Reporter by the New England Press Association. One of the other more notable awards was the American Cancer Society’s Sword of Hope Award, joined by several more from the Associated Press and United Press International over the course of his 40-year, full-time career at The Gazette.

Vartabedian was also an active member of the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee of Merrimack Valley and the Armenian Genocide Monument Committee, which erected an imposing memorial in Lowell in tribute to the 1.5 million victims of the 1915 genocide. Vartabedian was a charter member of St. Gregory Armenian Church, North Andover, where he taught Armenian School for 45 years, and served on the board of trustees for 20 years. He had just recently joined the church choir, and was a delegate to the National Representative Assembly.

The Armenian Eastern Prelacy presented Vartabedian with its Eagle Award, the highest award rendered for service to church and community. He had been a columnist and correspondent for 50 years with The Armenian Weekly, where he also compiled and edited special issues covering the annual Armenian Youth Federation Olympic Games for more than four decades.

He was a 50-year member of the Lowell “Aharonian” Committee, Armenian Revolutionary Federation of America, serving as its chairman for many years.