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The Legacy of George Keverian

George Keverian was born in Everett, Massachusetts during the Great Depression. His mother worked at home as a dressmaker and his father, Nazar, owned and operated Peter's Shoe Repair on Nichols Street in Everett, MA. Both of his parents fled Turkey to escape the systematic killing of Armenians during the 1915 genocide of innocent men, women and children by the Ottoman Empire.

George attended the George Hamilton School on Nichols Street, never dreaming that the very school that he and his brother were to attend was destined to be renamed in his honor as the Georg Keverian School in 2002. He went on to attend Parlin Junior High School and Everett High School where he received numerous awards that foreshadowed his future success and leadership abilities. He was chosen School Council President and Class Valedictorian of the Class of 1949.

George attended Harvard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in American Government, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Followign graduation, George began a long and distinguished career as a devoted public servant, having been the youngest person ever to be elected to the Common Council of Everett. He had many competitors in that first election. George demonstrated his initiative by photographing thousands of the homes in his election district and mailing each resident their own personal picture, along with his political message. This has been long remembered as his trademark by demonstrating his sincere interested in each and every voter.

He served as a member of the Common Council of Everett for eight years, including two years when he was stationed at Ladd Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska. Three years as an Alderman were following by 24 years as Everett's State Representative until he left elective office in 1991. During his almost quarter century of service as Everett's State Representative, George was recognized as an expert in rules, rules reform, legislative procedure, redistricting, election laws, and the Commonwealth's finances.

George was appointed House Whip in 1975, House Majority Leader in 1978 and Speaker of the House in September of 1983. He was re-elected Speaker twice more before he left the State Legislature after an unsuccessful run for State Treasurer. Leaving the State Legislature after six years as Speaker, he accepted a Mayoral appointment as Chairman of Everett's Board of Assessors. He applied his considerable knowledge and experience on behalf of the community he loved and called home for all of his 77 years of life.

More important than the many high offices he held was the fact that George's relationship with the citizens of Everett and, in fact, with all citizens of the Commonwealth was legendary. He truly cared about each and every person that he met. He would extend a helping hand if it was in his power to do so in an official capacity. If his powers were limited, he would help using his own limited resources. George never married. He stayed to care for his parents. While his brother's family, and the family of a very close friend, was his immediate family, there are many people in his life that he counted as his extended family.

There is another part of George's legacy that should be acknowledged and recognized. He believed in our basic form of democracy and demonstrated that belief by strongly encouraging the House of Representative to engage in a democratic expression of its beliefs. This was a sign of his strong leadership skills.

As a young 18 year old adult, graduating as the Valedictorian of the Everett High School class of 1949, he wrote and delivered a speech that was to express in simple and yet eloquent and mature words, his core belief in our democracy as well as his compassion for his fellow human beings. He would have liked us all to share these writings with the youth in our lives. They can see how a vision at the beginning of one's adult life can be translated into a life of devoted public service and the highest form. This valedictory speech will give you insight into the intellectual side of George. Yes, he helped many and was witty and funny, but George had a deep intellect based on strong core principles that guided him from his earliest years. He lived his life just as he had envisioned it at the tender age of 18.

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