By Jillian Fennimore

Watertown TAB & Press
April 1 2008

WATERTOWN - If there's one thing Virginia Tashjian was quite good at
it was telling stories.

Now her close friends and family are joining together to tell her
own tale.

Tashjian, 86, was well known as former director of the Newton Free
Library, a children's book author and Sunday school supervisor at St.

Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown. She died Friday,
March 28 from a brain tumor.

Virginia's son, Douglas Sevan Tashjian, said while growing up on
Belmont Street in Watertown, both his parents made a life out of
giving to others. He jokes about becoming "tiresome" thinking of his
mother's extensive resume.

"Above all things, she spent her entire life catering to needs of
other people before she did anything for herself," Douglas said.

"She's gone now but she is still helping me out."

Kathy Glick-Weil, the recently retired director of the Newton Library,
said she followed in Virginia's footsteps for the past 14 years.

"What I really remember is that she left the library in such incredibly
good shape," she said. "Virginia was an exceptional person. She had
more energy on the day she left than I had on the day I walked in."

As former chairperson of the library's Board of Trustees, Dorothy
Reichard said she worked diligently with Virginia in their efforts
to get the new library built through fundraising and citywide support.

"Virginia was one of the most dedicated professional women I had the
privilege to work with," she said. "It was her determination and love
for her work in the Newton community that led to the building of one
of the finest buildings in the community."

Mary Alemian, a close friend and volunteer at the library, said
Virginia was a household name in the building for 50 years as both
a branch librarian and director.

"Everyone knows Virginia and everyone adored her," Alemian said. "She
was so able, especially with the children."

Friends of Virginia say she had a strong connection with kids as a
professional children's librarian and storyteller. So much that the
Newton Library's children's room was dedicated to her.

According to her obituary, Virginia was also president of the
Children's Roundtable, president of the Massachusetts Library
Association, president of New England Library Association and a member
of the American Library Association. Her six children's books received
several honors and citations.

"She did it all," Alemian said.

At St. Stephen's Armenian Church, Virginia began a Sunday school
program and served as the school's supervisor and kindergarten teacher.

Virginia's credits also include being a member of Newton League of
Women Voters, Women's National Book Association, Boston Museum of
Fine Arts, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Newton Symphony Orchestra,
Huntington Theater and Boston Lyric Opera.

Douglas said while sorting through his mother's paperwork he found
a handful of single unused tickets to upcoming shows and symphony

"If she was not lecturing, she was going to some concert," he said.

"She made a life of that."

Ernest Webby, Jr., a part-time reference librarian at both Newton
and Wellesley Libraries, said he knew Virginia for many years and is
comforted with his good memories of her.

"She was a wonderful, thoughtful woman, who always treated me and
others with kindness," he wrote in an email. "Her passing brings
sadness to all who knew her."

Wife of the late James H. Tashjian, Virginia also leaves behind her two
grandsons, two grandsons, Jonathan Scott Tashjian and Jeffrey Maxwell
Tashjian of Hopkinton; two nephews, Dr. Kenneth Shant Manuelian and
Roy Shahan Der Manuelian; and her great-nephew, John Kenneth Manuelian
of Florida.

She was sister of the late Armenoohi Armane Manuelian.

Remembering Virginia Funeral services are scheduled to be held
Thursday, April 3, at 11 a.m., in St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic
Church, 38 Elton Ave. in Watertown. Visiting hours are scheduled for
6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday at the Aram Bedrosian Funeral Home, 338 Mount
Auburn St. in Watertown.

Burial will be at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Stephen's Armenian Church,
38 Elton Ave., Watertown, MA 02472-4116; Friends of Armenian Culture,
P.O. Box 87, Belmont, MA 02478-0002; or to the Newton Free Library, 330
Homer St., Newton Centre, MA 02459, Attention: Nancy Perlow, director.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress