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Veteran 1930s Caz Republican reporter laid to rest

Arsine Schmavonian, a Cazenovia Republican reporter in the 1930s and a teacher at Cazenovia Seminary, died at age 97 on Aug. 9, in Washington, D.C. Born in Constantinople, Turkey on April 1, 1912, Arsine was the third child of Arsene and Edith Schmavonian nee Merrifield.

Graveside services for Arsine Schmavonian were held on Oct. 8 at Evergreen Cemetery. Her final wish was to be buried in Cazenovia next to her father. The Rev. Steven Thomas officiated at the service. Her cousin Peter Reid, of Texas, read scripture and several friends from Syracuse gave remembrances.

At the time of her birth, Arsine's father, Arsene Schmavonian, was pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church in Constantinople and working closely with the Sultan Of Turkey. In 1915 Arsine, her mother, and older sister Margret returned to America to escape dangerous wartime conditions in Turkey. The Rev. Schmavonian remained in Constantinople to attend to the needs of his endangered congregation. In 1917 Schmavonian was forced in leave Turkey as a result of the persecution and massacre of the Armenian people. He found peace in America and accepted the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church in Cazenovia, where the family settled.

Arsine received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hood College in Frederick, Md. in 1934 and later a Masters Degree in Library Science from Syracuse University.

In 1936 she accepted a teaching position at the Cazenovia Seminary and was a reporter for the Cazenovia Republican. Upon her father's death in 1940, she moved with her mother and sister from Cazenovia to Syracuse, where she became church secretary at the First Presbyterian Church on West Genesee Street in Syracuse. In 1950 she took a position as assistant to the Presbyterian chaplain at Syracuse University under the national Westminster Foundation program for Presbyterian students. In 1954 she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and became director of the church office at the Church of the Covenant in that city. From 1957 until 1963 she was editorial assistant in the Stewardship and Promotion division of the General Council of the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in New York City. From 1963 to 1966 she was an editor of publications and registrar at Central City Business Institute in Syracuse. For the remainder of her career she was a staff member of Syracuse University Libraries, was Editor of the Library Journal, wrote descriptions of manuscript collections in the Special Collections library, and also edited a few books for Syracuse University Press. Upon her retirement she moved with her sister to East Dennis, Mass., and then to Williamsport, M.D. where Margret passed away in 1989. During the last years of her life Arsine resided at Ingleside at Rock Creek in Washington, D.C.

Arsine is survived by her three cousins (once removed), Peter Reid of Georgetown, Texas, Janice Myers of Charlotte, N.C., Donna McNeil of Kensington, Md. and their children and grandchildren.

Arsine was a very loving and literate person. She was always interested in what was happening in the lives of Peter, Janice and Donna, and their children. She will be missed greatly by her family, and all of the friends she has made over the years.

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