His colleagues described him as a competent, trustworthy and compassionate doctor, who was enormously devoted to his patients.
A gifted doctor and a man of great integrity, Dr. Zareh N. Demirjian was passionately dedicated to his family, Armenian causes and medicine. Well known in the medical community and beyond for his expertise in hematology and the study of bleeding and clotting disorders, Zareh spent more than four decades treating patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and was a senior hematologist there at the time of his death, in December 2012.
Zareh’s genuine willingness to help people, his analytical mind and ability to tinker were uniquely combined in his teaching and clinical work at MGH. “His colleagues described him as a competent, trustworthy and compassionate doctor, who was enormously devoted to his patients,” said his wife Margo (née Balukjian) Demirjian. A keen problem solver, Zareh also loved fixing things, especially repairing old watches and devoted many hours to this hobby.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, to Nazareth and Meline (née Khachadurian) Demirjian, Zareh grew up surrounded by the vibrant life of the local Armenian community. After graduating from the American University of Beirut with a medical degree, he moved to the United States for his clinical residency and subsequently became the first graduate of a foreign medical school to be offered a staff position at MGH in 1971. It was at the MGH that he met his future wife Margo, whom he married in June 1972.
Passionate about upholding Armenian cultural heritage alive, Zareh demonstrated true leadership in the community of New England through his involvement in several organizations. Inheriting this passion from his mother, a dynamic woman who enjoyed working on Armenian causes, he initiated and supported many projects throughout his life. It was no surprise that in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Gyumri in 1988 Zareh spearheaded efforts to treat a few severely injured children from Armenia.
From early on, Zareh continued his parents’ commitment to AGBU and its mission. He started the AGBU Boston Youth Chapter in 1927, served as the chairman of AGBU Boston for many years and was on the AGBU Central Education Committee in the late 1980s and early 1990s. An ardent supporter of the Armenian press, he was the chairman of The Armenian Mirror Spectator’s 50th Anniversary Committee. Zareh’s love for his mother tongue was contagious and inspired his wife Margo and children—Dr. Aram Demirjian and Talinn Demirjian—to acquire fluency in Western Armenian. “He wanted his household to be a traditional Armenian household. We spoke Armenian at home,” Margo said. In his lifetime, Zareh sought neither spotlight nor acknowledgment for his devotion and unwavering service to his community. Nevertheless, Zareh’s contribution was recognized in 2006 with the St. Sahag-St. Mesrob Medal, bestowed upon him by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.
In 2000, honoring the memory of his parents, Zareh and Margo established the Nazareth and Meline Demirjian Memorial Endowment to support the AGBU Senior Dining Centers in Armenia. Continuing this tradition, Margo, Aram and Talinn are contributing to a number of AGBU projects worldwide through the Zareh N. Demirjian Memorial Endowment