Earlier this month, several Ungerouhis from the ARS “Satenig” Chapter of Washington, D.C., visited Rose Baboian, a founding member of the chapter, at her home to celebrate her 100th birthday.
“It is with distinct honor and great pleasure that we celebrate the 100th birthday of our Sireli Ungerouhi Rose Haroutounian Babobian,” said “Satenig” Chapter Chairperson Jemma Simonian.
Rose (Haroutounian) Baboian retold the story of her life: She was born in 1913 in Kharpert, Turkey, the youngest of four children of Katchig and Kohar Haroutounian. At the beginning of the genocide in 1915, her mother was forced to place two of her children in an orphanage. With the help of the ARF, Rose’s father arrived safely to the U.S. Yet, Rose stayed with her mother. They were very poor. Once, when her mother went to find some sort of a job, she had to leave Rose in front of the apartment building, and when she came back Rose was gone. A priest who lived in the neighborhood had taken her to his home, thinking she had been abandoned, and took care of her for the next two years. After two years of searching, Rose’s mother spotted her while playing in the village, since Rose was still wearing the same dress that she had made for her two years ago. The dress had fallen to threads and Rose was malnourished and frail. Digin Kohar (Rose’s mother) recognized her instantly and took her in her arms.
As mother and daughter were reunited again, the Turks allowed Rose and her mother to return to their original home in Kharpert; however, their house was taken over by the Kurds. Having nowhere to stay, Rose and her mother moved to Syria when Rose was about 10 years old. In a desperate attempt to find her father, Rose and her mother wrote a letter to the “Hairenik” newspaper, hoping they would be able to locate him. Fortunately, they did. Her father had become a citizen of the United States of America. Thus, Rose, at age 14m and her mother were able to immigrate to the U.S. and become citizens of the country as well. Rose went to school and in 1934 married a handsome Armenian named Yervant Baboian and had three sons, Hrant, Melkon, and Khatchig.
The ARS “Satenig” Chapter of Greater Washington found its beginning in the late 1920’s when Vartanoush Gharibian had a vision to form a chapter in the D.C. region. By 1930, Gharibian was able to start up the chapter with two other members: Armenouhi Delalian, as the recording secretary, and “Mama” Derderian, as the treasurer. She wanted to start recruiting more members and needed a chairwoman to run the show, so she approached a very young lady named Vartanoush Haroutounian (today we know her as Rose Baboian). Rose was only 17 when she accepted to lead the newly founded chapter as its chairwoman. To this date, Rose still remains the youngest chairwoman in the ARS “Satenig” Chapter’s history.