Rose Sahagian
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Obituary of Rose Sahagian

Rose Sahagian (nee: Kasparian),87, passed away peacefully surrounded by her children and close family on January 15th, 2018 in Miami, FL after a brief stay in hospice.

Rose was born in Havana, Cuba in 1930 to Hagop (Kasparian) and Kadar (Kechejian.) She and her six brothers and sisters, grew up in the outskirts of Havana within a small Armenian community. Her early life, like many of the Armenian refugees who settled in Cuba during the 1920s and 30s, was anything but glamorous. As a young student she had dreams of going to school to become  a nurse but her father wouldn't allow her to ride the bus into Havana to continue her education.   Despite the family's humble roots they endured,  thanks to a strong family bond and an equally strong faith in God.

Soon after arriving in the United States on a student visa in 1948, she met Joseph Sahagian, a WWII Purple Heart recipient, at the annual Armenian Nursing Home picnic in Emerson, New Jersey...it was love at first sight. They were married that same year at Holy Cross Armenian Church in Union City, NJ. 

Rose was extremely proud to be an American citizen, she achieved citizenship in her very early twenties.   Her conviction and pride in becoming an American is what drove her to help numerous immigrants from Cuba attain their driver’s license and US citizenship and paving their way to an easier life.  During the next decade, she assisted her remaining family members in Cuba in emigrating to the United States. 

This period was also an emotionally complicated time that was both happy and sad.  She happily saw her three children, Joseph Jr., Robert and Lorraine born while sadly experiencing the passing of both her parents.  Rose and her husband worked side by side in their dry cleaning business to support their family.  She also dedicated herself to raising her children, while settling in North Bergen, and providing for them by working for over 20 years  in numerous local sweater and textile factories. 

Rose was a determined, strong-willed, hardworking, resourceful, and  fiercely independent woman with solid Christian values. Throughout her life she made many courageous decisions.  Following the death of her husband in 1971, she flourished as matriarch of the family and aiding others in need whenever possible.  She possessed an extremely strong work ethic and was often rigid in what was the right way and wrong way of doing anything and everything. But she also enjoyed many simple pleasures: playing games, cards, dominoes and spending time at the senior centers in the company of friends in New Jersey and Miami. 

For much of the second half of her life, she called Florida her winter home.  She enjoyed traveling and relaxing at 5 cent slot machines in local casinos.  She had a passion for cooking and feeding her beloved family and friends. Creating multi-ethnic delicacies and intertwining foods from her Armenian roots and Cuban upbringing.  The Christmas dinner and holiday celebrations were always something to behold. Who knew so much food and so many people could fit into a one bedroom home! 

She excelled at gardening work, delighted in various arts and crafts projects, in particular, knitting, crocheting, fine lace needlework and ceramics.  Her skill and speed in designing, constructing and repairing clothing was beyond compare. Rose was a real problem solver who was often heard saying: "Let me see if I could invent something here."  Her love of flea markets and yard sales where she was a master negotiator  is legendary.

Rose was honored to be named Woman of the Year of the Women's Guild at Holy Cross,  an honor that she really cherished and this past year she celebrated her 40th anniversary with the Guild. 

At the age of eighty in 2010, her children threw her a birthday party that remained one of her fondest and most enduring memories.  It was attended by many family and friends but was made even more special by a surprise visit from her 90 year old sister, Annig, from Iowa. To have so many family and friends surrounding her brought so much joy into her life.

Rose is survived by her children Joseph, Robert, Lorraine and their spouses Carol Sahagian, Jeannette Vela and Ted Giles, her grandchildren Daniel and Andrew, her sisters Virginia Froonjian and Isabel Keshguerian and many loving nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her husband Joseph and her siblings Annig Elgatian, Ardashes Kasparian, Arax Riezgo and Kasper Kasparian. 

The family will receive guests on Monday from 3 - 7pm at the Frank Patti Funeral Home, 327 Main St., Fort Lee, NJ.  All are invited to assemble on Tuesday at 10:30am for funeral services at Holy Cross Armenian Church in Union City, NJ.  In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Holy Cross Armenian Church, 318 27th St., Union City, NJ 07087. 

For more information, please call 201-944-0100 or www.frankpatti.com.