In Memory

Alice Gertmenian (Mardigian) - Class Of 1925

Alice Gertmenian (Mardigian)

Alice Victoria Gertmenian was born January 14, 1907, in Binghamton, New York, the fifth child and third daughter of Gostantin and Christina Gertmenian.  Her early schooling was in Binghamton and her summers were spent with the family in Thousand Island Park.

In 1918, the family moved to Pasadena, California.  At the age of eleven, she was sent with two of her sisters, Bessie and Helen, ahead of the family to stay with their Aunt Mary Salisian until the rest of the family arrived.

Alice studied the piano and played well.  At family gatherings and musicals she was always the one chosen to play or accompany the others.  This background in music remained an interest all her life.

She attended the South Pasadena schools and was particularly active in high school where she was president of the Girls' League and took part in many dramatic shows as well.  After graduation, she went to New York with Euphrates Pashgian to study drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  She remained there for two years.  Upon returning to Pasadena, she became active at the Pasadena Playhouse and also directed the senior play for South Pasadena High School  For a brief time, she opened a studio with Lois Brooks on Lake Avenue, where she taught drama while Lois taught art.

In June, 1931, Alice married Samuel Mardigian and they moved into a house on Marguerita Lane, where their son Ronald and daughter Christine were born.  Samuel, (Mardie), had come to California from Detroit, and after working for a short time in Los Angeles, established a rug business in Pasadena.  He soon was widely known and well liked.  He studied voice, (he was a tenor), with Madame Perry for many years, and took part in several amateur opera performances.

In 1938, Alice and Mardie built a home at the corner of Columbia Street and Orange Grove Avenue, which was their family home until they died, Mardie in 1982 and Alice in 1983.  For many years, they spent their summers at Lake Arrowhead, and finally in the late 1940's they purchased the home which they had rented each year.  The Arrowhead home became a popular place for all the family to enjoy.  Mardie, in particular, spent a great deal of time there and took pleasure in fixing it up.

While their children were growing, Alice took an interest in school affairs and served as President of the PTA several times.  She also became active in civic affairs, in particular with the formation of South Pasadena Beautiful, a civic improvement group.  For awhile, she served as an assistant to Dr. Frances Strain, a well-known family counselor and lecturer.  Alice studied classical guitar, which became a source of great pleasure to her.  She made two trips to Europe, one with her daughter Christine.  She was very proficient in all kinds of handwork, crocheting, knitting and needlepoint, and enjoyed these hobbies all through her life.

Mardie enjoyed singing and making shish kebab for his family and friends.  He also enjoyed playing Tavloo, (Bakkgammon), but his greatest pleasure he received working around his Arrowhead home.  It is very fitting that in the rebuilding of that home, his son Ron placed Mardie's ashes in the foundation of the new house