Seda Sonentz-Papazian was born Seda Khatanassian on July 1, 1925 in Khartoum, Sudan to Dr. Yervant Khatanassian and Vergine Alianak. While still a child, the Khatanassian family, which now included Seda’s two younger sisters, Shushi and Dzovig, moved to Cairo, Egypt, where Seda spent the rest of her childhood and formative years. Seda then graduated from the American University in Cairo and began working as a librarian at the American and later British embassies in Cairo. She married Tatul Sonentz-Papazian and emigrated to the United States in the late 1950s, settling in the Greater Boston area, first to Cambridge where her first son Armen Joseph Sonentz-Papazian was born, then to Watertown, Massachusetts, where she took her in. second son Vicken Sonentz-Papazian.
In the late 1960s, Seda began working as a library cataloger at Harvard University’s Widener Library, first as a part-time employee, then soon after transitioned to a job at full-time. More than half a century later, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Seda continued to work remotely cataloging books at Harvard University, until just weeks before his death on 3 February 2022.
Seda was the fiercely proud daughter of an Armenian freedom fighter who fought alongside General Andranik during the Armenian Genocide, and she would fondly reminisce with family and friends about her childhood memories of meeting legendary Armenian patriots. like General Dro Kanayan, Dr. Hamo Ohanjanian, Ruben Der Minassian and Levon Shant, among many other luminaries. Until the day of his death, Armenia, Artsakh and the pursuit of the Armenian cause remained in his thoughts and prayers.
Seda was predeceased by her father Yervant, her mother Vergine and her sisters Shushi Minasian and her husband Vasken Minasian and Dzovig Kalbian and her husband Ohan Kalbian.
Seda is survived by her husband Tatul; sons Armen and Vicken, his wife Angela Achikgiozian and their two children Ani Mamikonian Zarpas and her husband Eleftherios Larry Zarpas; and Sona Mamikonian, as well as her two cherished great-grandchildren Ella Simone Zarpas and Aleksander Simon Papazian. Seda is also survived by her niece, Dr. Lori Minasian Throckmorton and her husband, Dr. Douglas Throckmorton and their two children Peter Throckmorton and Claire Throckmorton; his nephew Raffi Minasian and his wife Carolyn Burger Minasian, and their two children Isabelle Minasian and Aria Minasian; as well as his nephew Ari Minassian and his partner Jerry MacDonald.
Endowed with a kind and generous heart, as well as a strong desire to champion the cause of the most needy and vulnerable among us, Seda’s caring and compassionate nature touched her family and friends and all those who are lucky enough to be in his life, and will no doubt survive his passing.
The Armenian Relief Society (ARS), an internationally renowned charity founded in 1910, held a very special place in Seda’s heart since her mother Vergine worked for the organization from the early 1920s, helping Armenian Genocide survivors. To honor Seda’s last wishes to continue the tradition of helping the homeless, orphans and those most in need in Armenia and Artsakh, and in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to ARS (80 Bigelow Avenue, #300, Watertown, Massachusetts 02472) or at Saint Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church (38 Elton Avenue, Watertown, Massachusetts 02472).
The memorial service for Seda Sonentz-Papazian will be announced at a later date.
The ARS Central Executive Council and its office staff express their deepest condolences to unger Tatul Sonentz-Papazian and his family on the passing of his wife, Seda.
The Central Committee of the Eastern United States of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the Boston Sardarabad Gomidehoutiun and the newspapers Armenian Weekly and Hairenik Weekly extend their deepest condolences to our devoted unger Tatul Sonentz-Papazian, to the entire Sonentz-Papazian family , their friends and loved ones.