Nazareth 'Nazie' Armergian, 85: A smooth dancer

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Nazareth “Nazie” Amergian, 85, of South Portland, died peacefully Tuesday.

Amergian was born in Portland on Oct. 28, 1927, the son of Armenian immigrants, Mekail and Natalie Amergian.

He graduated from Portland High School in 1946, where he played football. As a youth, he also worked in the family grocery business, Amergian’s Market on the corner of Oxford and Mayo streets, and spent much of his free time at the local Boys Club. After high school he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in Korea from 1946 to 1948.

Amergian was employed by the John J. Nissen Baking Co. for over 30 years as a mechanic/foreman. After his retirement, he worked for The Dive Shop at Tommy’s Hardware, outfitting divers and fixing regulators, and later for the Portland Sea Dogs as a jack-of-all-trades. He was known as the go-to guy for fixing just about anything. He was also a past member of the Spurwink Rod and Gun Club.

Admired as a smooth dancer and sought-after as a popular lead on the dance floor, Amergian caught the eye of his future wife, Joan, at the Lakeland Pavilion in North Windham in 1956.

A recreational lobsterman, he spent many summer vacations piloting his boat, Camel, among the Casco Bay islands, accompanied by his wife and three girls.

Amergian is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joan Amergian; three daughters, Marta Miles and husband Jeff, of Portland, Deanna Garland, of Scarborough, and Rachel Amergian, of Austin, Texas; grandchildren Melinda and Justin Earley and their father James M. Earley, and Russell and Roy Garland; sister Dolores Drivas, of South Portland; sister-in-law Marion Amergian, of Portland; and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his sisters, Virginia Miller and husband Raymond, and Beverly Witham; brothers Ralph Amergian and William “Vuskin” Amergian; brother-in-law Peter Drivas; and son-in-law David P. Garland.

Amergian’s family would like to thank Vicky Stevens, the visiting nurses and staff of the Hospice of Southern Maine, and the nurses and staff of the South Portland Nursing Home for their compassionate care.

Visiting hours were scheduled for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, July 26, at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland, with funeral services immediately following. Interment will be at Forest City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Amergian’s name to Hospice of Southern Maine, 180 U.S. Route 1, Suite 1, Scarborough, ME 04074.