Pierre Gazarian passed away Feb. 6, 2017, in his Beekman Place apartment, surrounded by Nina, his faithful four-legged companion. He was the beloved brother of Marie-Lise Gazarian.
A passionate aficionado of old houses, some of which he restored, he divided his time between Manhattan and the quaint hamlet of Orient, which he so loved. Born July 8, 1932, in Paris, he came to the United States at the age of 15, when his older brother Jean joined the United Nations.
Pierre, who studied at the Lycée Français in New York, Queens College and Columbia University, began working for Renault USA at an early age and was its president, when, in 1987, he chose an early retirement.
Pierre was a Member of the Knickerbocker Club. In 1990, he was made Knight of the Order of Merit by the French Government.
His true passion, however, was for writing. Pierre touched people with his words, and made them laugh and cry. He saw the world through the sensitive and inquisitive eye of a poet. Pierre wrote poetry in French and in English and one-act plays. In October 1999, he became a columnist for The Suffolk Times.
Steven Stepanchev, the Poet Laureate of Queens and his former professor, wrote of “If you See my Dog, the Name Is Moon,” an anthology of poetry Pierre dedicated to his long-time friend Rita Martinsen, “He is the keen observer of the contemporary scene, which is reflected in vivid imagery and ironic wit.” Jean Valentine wrote of his poetry: “Pierre Gazarian’s grieving, often somewhat surreal poems resemble folk tales in their abstraction and sense of inevitability, and tenderness, too.”
Pierre’s recent book, A Seagull on My Roof, came to life in memory of his beloved wife, Nancy Cheadle, an exceptional illustrator and portraitist, who passed away in 2012, and of Jean, his generous late brother and mentor. A collection of 168 columns written for The Suffolk Times, it reflects his curiosity and respect for every living thing, whether human beings, animals, or objects. An advocate of life for every creature, who does not recall his article “ King deer speaks…” Pierre’s last word “Peace.”
A service will take place Sunday, Feb. 19, at Orient Central Cemetery in Orient. The memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at The Church of the Holy Family, Parish of the United Nations in Manhattan. Monsignor Simon Kassas, first secretary of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, will celebrate the Mass. It will be followed by a reception.