Pierre Gazarian of Orient and Manhattan died Feb. 6, 2017. He was 84 years old.
A native of Paris, France, Gazarian came to the United States in 1947 with his older brother Jean, who worked for the United Nations.
He was president of Renault USA. He retired at age 55 and focused his energy on his true passions: poetry and writing. For the past 20 years, Gazarian penned a column for The Suffolk Times in which he ruminated on life and the North Fork hamlet he loved.
Like his journey to America, his journey to the North Fork was taken up after his brother, who rode a bicycle east from New York City and discovered Orient. Gazarian became a part-time resident in the 1979s and the place and its people would become the subject of his poetry, one-act plays and essays for many years to come.
“Writing was always his passion,” said his sister Marie-Lise Gazarian.
“Pierre loved to help people. He loved animals,” she said. He was especially fond of his dog Nina, who was at his feet when he passed away, seated in his favorite chair at a window in his Beekman Place apartment that had a view of the East River, his sister said. “It was one of his favorite places.”
Marie-Lise Gazarian said her brother loved writing his columns for the Suffolk Times. “He put his feelings into it, writing about the people. He was naturally curious and learned a lot about others. You can feel it when you read what he wrote. He brought his subjects to life. Writing for him was very personal. Pierre was very sensitive,” she said.
Gazarian recently published “A Seagull on My Roof,” a collection of essays including many of his columns.
“As long as I look at the bay, as long as I witness one more sailboat go by, one more ferry, one more cloud, as long as I listen to the wind and the waves and the eternal cry of the gull, I’ll be all right,” he wrote.
“He wrote prose through the eyes of a poet,” his sister said.
Gazarian was predeceased in 2012 by his wife Nancy Cheadle and by his brother Jean Bernard Gazarian in January 2016.
Visitation will take place on Thursday, Feb. 16 and Friday, Feb. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. at Arlington Funeral Home, 8315 Parsons Boulevard, Jamaica, N.Y. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the Church of the Holy Family, Parish of the United Nations, 315 E. 47th St., New York, N.Y. Interment will be at Orient Cemetery at a later date.