Obituary of Rose Kasarjian
Rose Patigian Kasarjian, of Watertown (5.7.26-1.25.23) was a bright force of nature for nine decades: smart, opinionated, funny, & warm. She passed peacefully at South Shore Hospital after rapid cognitive decline during COVID. Rosie lived richly & simply on her own terms until age 94: residing independently, riding transit, & socializing well while being legally blind & mostly deaf. Her core values were speaking up for
Her mourning family includes her devoted children & their spouses, Pete & Debbie Kasarjian of Plymouth, MA, Karen & Wayne Barnes of Santa Fe, NM; her grandchildren Jules Patigian (partner Faye) of Roslindale, Erik Barnes (partner Emily) of Santa Cruz, CA, Brian Kasarjian (partner Genevieve) of Kingston, MA, and Kate Kasarjian Murphy of Acton, MA; & 6 amazing
Paradoxically liberal and immovably stubborn, Rosie was staunchly interested in people’s stories & cultures, seeing diversity as the spice of life. “She never met a stranger” says her goddaughter Linda. Always outspoken, she modeled & encouraged self-respect and standing up for others. Rosie’s favorite things included: winning at cards, telling jokes, chocolate cake for breakfast, listening to celebrity autobiographies & WWII history audiobooks, travelling, dancing (especially to “bebop” at family weddings), 1940s music, her nightly watch of local news followed by Wheel of Fortune & Jeopardy, & talking on the phone with her loved ones (especially her big sister Mary). Self-described as “pennywise & pound foolish”, she’d drive to 3 stores to save 75 cents on green peppers, then reliably slip the kids a $50 “tuckee” to keep for emergencies any time they’d visit.
Raised in a bilingual household in Jamaica Plain, Rosie was the second of four daughters of a gentle Armenian genocide survivor & her intrepid barber husband. The sisters enjoyed weekend trips to Nantasket Beach, Sunday dinners of chicken (from their family flock) with pilaf & fasulya, & as teens sneaking out to dance with sailors. Rosie attended Mary Curley School, JP High, & Mt Ida College secretarial program. Born later, she would have been a Fortune 500 CEO, with a love of learning, politics, & any lively negotiation. She admired directness, honesty, advocacy in herself & others. She relished the accomplishments of her family, taking particular delight in the professional successes our younger women had that were not available to her because of culture & generation. (Rosie lit up when her highly-educated adult grandkids would accompany her to medical appointments at Mt Auburn & ask cogent questions about her care).
A consummate “city girl,” she worked at Boston Typewriter on Bromfield St. in Downtown Crossing, where she met Fred Kasarjian. They married in 1948 and raised their kids in Medford, while running Van’s Market. In 1967, the family moved to Plymouth, to operate Lord Alden restaurant, and together hosted incredible summer family picnics at their Manomet home. Rosie loved her years as executive secretary for Bechtel at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant (& running a de facto boarding house for visiting engineers), and in her retirement volunteering at the Carver VNA (where they called her “the purple whirlwind” after her typing velocity & colorful coat), & feeding the cranberry harvest crew at Blue Heron Farms. She hated housework, was entirely indifferent to fashion & decor, & put comfort & people first.
After losing her husband & her eyesight, she returned to the city she loved in 2004 to rejoin the tight-knit community of elder Armenian ladies in Watertown: riding the 71 bus to Star Market, making manti & volunteering at bingo at St James Church (where she was agnostic but social), sharing Friday dinners with her eldest grandchild, and hosting weekly card nights playing “36” with her friends. She loved hosting people overnight in her condo on Bigelow Ave, & welcomed new friends with a hug & a meal from her freezer! She was blessed with a wide circle of friends, many she’d known since childhood & others she met in the neighborhood in her 80s, who shared adventures & care for each other: meeting up for Chinese buffet (with Tupperware for rogue takeout), the church bazaar, & sampling trips to Costco.
Her kids, Karen & Pete, have been extraordinarily devoted & reliable especially during her cognitive decline: managing care, handling emergencies, & making the hard decisions. She had a long, happy life on this earth, & the last 2 years were incredibly hard. We are privileged that she had exemplary care: at home on Bigelow Ave. from our friend Carina, at Duxbury House memory unit, & from Cranberry Hospice (which gave us peace of mind). Her hospitality knew no limits & remained to the end in how she treated us & her caregivers: gracious & appreciative. Please bring your many Rosie stories to help us honor her together this spring!
Memorial donations can be made online through the link below or by mail:
Perkins School for the Blind
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472 USA
In Loving Memory
1926 - 2023
216 Main Street
Kingston, MA 02364
116 Main Street
Carver, MA 02330
For all mailings please use:
P O Box 325
Kingston, MA 02364
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