Folsom Funeral Service

Markarian, John J.

Markarian, John resized

John Jacob Markarian Jr. was born on May 2, 1922 in Malden, MA. His parents John J. Markarian, Sr. and Virginia Markarian lived in Watertown where John and his older brother Joseph were raised.

At an early age John showed an ability in music and began taking piano lessons, at first from his encouraging mother. After graduating from Watertown High School in 1940, John enrolled at Boston University where he continued his music studies and was elected Class President his first two years.

World War II interrupted his college study for about 3 years and after receiving an Honorable Discharge he returned from active duty in Europe to marry Helen Bourgoujian in 1946 and continue study at BU. While at BU from 1946-1948 he performed as Concert Pianist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In 1947 he received his Bachelor of Music degree from BU and started his career in music education in the Dover Public Schools in 1947 and in Westwood in 1948. In 1951 he received his Master of Music Education from BU and began working full time in the Westwood Public Schools as Director of Music.

In addition to working in the schools he gave piano lessons, he conducted the Dover-Westwood Choral Society from ’48-’57, he conducted two local church choirs between ’47 and ’53 and conducted the N.E. Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing Choir from 1957 to 1988.

During his years in Westwood he formed music groups for students at all levels and was able to attract large numbers of students to join the Chorus, Boys Glee Club, Girls Glee Club, Marching Band, Drill Team, Concert Band, Orchestra and Double Quartet. His personality and enthusiasm enabled many students to experience music performance for the first time and participate alongside those who had prior musical training and experience. Through the years Westwood Music groups grew in size and earned numerous awards, accolades and notoriety in recognition for outstanding achievement at various competitions.

John’s reputation grew as well. In 1957 he was named Teacher of the Week by WBZ-TV; In 1959 he was Massachusetts All-State Chorus Manager; In 1960 he was Adjudicator for the Fall River Solo Festival; in 1964, Guest Conductor for the Central Mass District Chorus; In 1965 Guest Conductor for the Newton All City Chorus; In 1965-1967 Southeastern District Chairman, Mass. Music Educators Association (MMEA); 1969 Member-at-Large MMEA Executive Board; 1971 Eastern U. S. Coordinator, American Youth Performs; 1971 Conference Chairman MMEA; 1973-1975 President MMEA; 1976 Received MMEA Distinguished Service Award; 1971-1979 Board of Directors Mass. Youth Wind Ensemble.

Throughout the years he was guided by the gift of his talent and a love for teaching. After his retirement in 1984 he was honored when the Westwood High School Music Room was dedicated in his name.

During retirement he became active in the Westwood Rotary Club and served as President for a time and although his participation decreased in recent years he always considered himself honored to be part of such a worthwhile organization.

While he was always busy with his music, John was devoted to his family and always found time for his parents John and Virginia, his loving wife Helen, and his son Bob and daughter Nadine. There were family gatherings at home and family vacations to New Hampshire, Maine and Cape Cod. He enjoyed seeing his family grow when Bob married Claire and Nadine married Rob. He became a grandfather to John, his wife Kristen, Craig, his wife Julie, Emily, her husband Tom and Natalie; and a proud Papa to his great children Jack, Ryan and Madeline. Holidays were always special at the Markarians particularly with Grampa passing out gifts as Santa Claus each Christmas.

Visiting hours for John will be held Wednesday, August 13th from 4 to 8 PM at the Folsom Funeral Home, 649 High Street, Westwood.  Services and interment will be private.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Westwood Rotary Club, PO Box 795, Westwood MA 02090






Guestbook Entries

  1. Jody (Badger) Balestra
    August 12th, 2014 | 8:27 am

    I have many happy memories of being on the Drill Team at WHS and being proud of the perfomances that were, in part, mapped out by Mr. Markarian. We performed at half time during the Patriots game and it was due to his ability to put together some wonderful performances. The marching band won many trophies under his direction and he had wonderful work ethic that he passed on to us.
    God Bless him and his family at this time.

  2. Ellie (Smith) Duhamel
    August 12th, 2014 | 12:45 pm

    Dear Mr. Markarian. He gave so much to so many of us during our years at Westwood High. As he taught us to sing together, he taught us much more; to hold to our own notes, to listen to each other, to pay attention to our leader, to delight in being a contributing part of a greater whole. I am grateful for his presence in my life.

    May his family know peace.

  3. Stephanie Kelsch
    August 12th, 2014 | 9:03 pm

    It was such a delight and a privilege to work with John at Westwood High. We had more fun working on the musicals together! His musical talent, his teaching ability, his sense of humor, and his abundant good will were gifts that inspired me as a (then) young teacher. And will I ever forget the “after performance” get togethers? God bless you, John, and speed you on your way to form a celestial Double Quartet. Helen and family, my heart is with you.
    Stephanie Shute Kelsch

  4. August 13th, 2014 | 10:33 am

    The epitome of a teacher, mentor and musician. The focus of my life and career was guided, shaped and inspired by John. He was the one, and I always hold him as the guide that I may do the same. So grateful for your light…always.

  5. Louis Amoruso
    August 13th, 2014 | 1:46 pm

    As a member of the WHS class of ’62, my memories of Mr. Mark are all warm and wonderful. Such a fine roll model, teacher, and person. He turned my voice and that of thousands of others into singing groups that brought joy and pleasure to us and our audiences. I will NEVER forget marching into the auditorium at the old WHS singing joy to the world as we marched into his Christmas concert one year. He brought joy to the students and parents then and throughout his life. My thoughts and prayers are with him and with you.
    Louis Amoruso

  6. August 14th, 2014 | 7:49 am

    It goes without saying that John Markarian was a MAJOR INFLUENCE in my life. From the time our family moved to Westwood, my 1st encounter with John was when he conducted a 5th grade production of “HANSEL & GRETEL!” [I played Hansel]. My WHS years (1963-1967) were influenced by his musical suggestions, encouragement and wise counsel. John even transcribed some original music that was ‘stuck inside my head!’ From concert + marching band, Boys Glee Club, Chorus, and Double Quartet…he challenged us to do better. Thanks so much for helping me appreciate most of the performing skills I continue to use today. R.I.P. John Markarian.

  7. Thomas G. McAuliffe
    August 14th, 2014 | 2:15 pm

    Thank you Mr. Markarian for many great years at WHS. In particular, it was wonderful to participate in the Double Quartett in 1966/67 with my friends Gary, Eric and Dave along with your daugther Nadine, Mitzi, Charlotte, Karen and Janet. In particular, your support along with Paul Monaghan to help me be first chair tenor saxophone at the 1967 Allstate Band at the opening in Boston’s War Memorial Hall will never be forgotten. My condolences go out to my high school classmate Nadine, her brother Bobby, who was in the same class as my sister Ellen, as well as your wife Helen and all of your relatives. Thank you for being such a key person/advisor in my life. I will never forget you. Warm regards, Tom McAuliffe WHS’ 1967.

  8. Carol (Draper) Neyland
    August 15th, 2014 | 4:28 pm

    For me, the most memorable teacher during my Westwood High School years was John Markarian. He was amazingly dedicated to his students and a remarkable musician. I will never forget my wonderful experiences in chorus, band, double quartet and state competitions. Mr. Mark was an inspiration to all that knew him. I will always have a fond spot in my heart for him. My sincere condolences to his wife Helen, and her whole family.

  9. Karen Swann
    August 24th, 2014 | 11:58 am

    I think about John Markarian all the time–the incredible influence he had on me and so many friends (some of whose names I see here), and the whole world of music at Westwood High. He transformed so many lives and will live on in so many hearts. My thoughts are with his family.

  10. Becky (Brown) Duckles
    September 17th, 2014 | 9:51 am

    Visiting my sister Sandy and talking about Westwood, she told me of Mr. Markarian’s passing. He was the most memorable and influential teacher I had, and gave us all an enduring love of music and passed on his joy of musical collaboration. I will always be grateful for his enthusiasm and kindness. It was heartwarming to read the other comments from his students and my former classmates. Thanks to his family for sharing him with us.

  11. Tory DeFazio
    September 27th, 2014 | 10:13 am

    I just heard of John’s passing through Rotary channels. As a Wellesley Rotarian and friend of John’s through the years I can attest to his dedication to Rotary and to his many visits to Wellesley Rotary. He was a great friend of my dad, Sal, and past District Governor John Robbins of Wellesley. There is nothing that can describe his generosity and friendly spirit whenever we met. He never hesitated to share his wonderful musical talents at the keyboard at Rotary events.
    Our love and consolation to dear Helen and family. John will not be forgotten.

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Folsom Funeral Service

Folsom Funeral Service