Obituary: Marie Ghazarian Nichols, Torontohye’s oldest known reader (1920-2023)

Ghazarian Nichols, Marie Marlene (Oct. 23, 1920 – Jan. 22, 2023). It is with much sadness that the family of Marie Marlene Ghazarian Nichols announces her passing, which happened on Jan. 22, 2023. 

Marie (or “Mets” to friends and family)—a true Kessabtsi in spirit—was born in Keorkeuna, an Armenian village in Syria, during the wheat harvest in October 1920. Her father Serop “Azab” and her mother Faride “Sitta Lelo” Ghazarian were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. \

Marie recently celebrated her 102nd birthday. She was predeceased by her younger brothers Yessai in Toronto, Simon in Brazil, and their wives Marie and Suzanna. She is survived by her daughter, Johanna Nichols (Darrell-Lee), son Albert Nichols (Jeni), and her grandchildren, Sienna and Jera, as well as her brothers, John (Varsenig) and Sam (Kohar). 

Marie led a much-storied life—from Kessab, to Lebanon, to Gaza, to Toronto, to Calgary, and eventually to Penticton, in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. She worked as a dedicated and skilled nurse in Lebanon, Gaza (during WWII), Toronto, Calgary, and Penticton. Marie was a devoted single parent to her children, who regarded her as their hero. After she immigrated to Canada in 1954 on the heels of hurricane Hazel, she sponsored her mother and three of her four brothers for immigration to Canada, where new generations of Ghazarians now work and raise their families. 

Marie was proud of her Armenian heritage and continued to learn and read about Armenian history and culture throughout her life. She was always happy to host any Armenians passing through town and did her best to educate non-Armenians who would sit and listen about her history and tell tales from her youth. She could never make a pilgrimage back to Kessab; however, her heart was always with her homeland and her people. 

Marie’s family would like to thank all who were friends with or cared for Marie over the years, especially the angels who took such good care of her at Haven Hill. 

“You were a great mother, our Mets Mama.”

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Marie’s name to the ARS Armenian Private School of Toronto or the Red Cross of Armenia.  


Torontohye’s editors and staff extend their deepest condolences to Marie Marlene Ghazarian Nichols’ family and loved ones. Marie, who we believe was Torontohye’s oldest regular reader, was a longtime supporter of our publication and a subscriber to our print edition since 2010.