Alice Martin’s (née Fereshetian) entire life was tied to Arlington, Massachusetts where she was born and raised. A first-generation Armenian American, Alice was born in 1923 to Sarkis and Nartoohie Fereshetian and had three siblings: Helen, Robert and Dorothy, whom she remained close to throughout her entire life.
Although the large influx of Armenians to the United States began after the Hamidian Massacres and swelled in the aftermath of the genocide, a small number of Armenians had settled in the country by the late nineteenth century. Early Armenian immigrants moved to the United States—particularly to Massachusetts—largely with the help of Protestant missionaries from New England. The majority of early Armenian immigrants were from the province of Kharpert. Alice’s father was one of these immigrants. Sarkis was born in 1882 in Kharpert and arrived in Boston in 1900 at the age of 18. He soon opened a grocery store in East Cambridge and married Nartoohie.
A gifted child, Alice skipped a grade in elementary school and played the violin for a few years. After graduating from Arlington High School, she worked as a secretary at several well-known law firms in Boston, ending her career at Goodwin, Proctor and Hoar. Alice was known for her many interests and hobbies: a music fan, traveler, philatelist and keen reader, among others. She nurtured a love of music throughout her life and was a frequent concert-goer. Reading was one of her favorite activities. She enjoyed both fiction and nonfiction and was fond of crossword puzzles. Alice also had an extensive collection of American stamps; several Armenian stamps were a significant addition to her collection. A lover of animals, Alice had a dog or a cat for most of her life. She was especially fond of her cat Benji who remained a faithful companion until her death in February 2016.
Alice and her family were members of the First Armenian Church of Belmont, one of the oldest Armenian churches in Massachusetts. Her family used to make several generous donations to the church. Continuing her family legacy, Alice, an AGBU member, was a committed donor. She made contributions to the AGBU Senior Dining Centers in Armenia and the AGBU Humanitarian Emergency Relief Fund for Syrian Armenians. It comes as no surprise that Alice included AGBU in her will. Her gift will be directed to AGBU humanitarian, cultural and educational programs in memory of Sarkis and Nartoohie Fereshetian, making a difference in the lives of Armenians today.