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George Keverian
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Birth: Jun. 3, 1931
Middlesex County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Mar. 6, 2009
Middlesex County
Massachusetts, USA

George Keverian-He was an American Democratic Party politician who served as the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1985 until 1991. In his role in the legislature, he was an advocate for greater openness in leadership, free speech and government reform. George Keverian was born in Everett, Massachusetts, located in Middlesex County, near Boston. Keverian was the son of Armenian parents who immigrated to America from Turkey before 1915; his mother was a dressmaker and his father ran a shoe repair business. Keverian attended Everett High School where he was a champion runner the valedictorian of the class of 1949. Keverian attended Tufts College for two years before transferring to Harvard College. Keverian graduated from Harvard in 1953. He was elected to the City of Everett Common Council in 1954 at the age of 21, shortly after his graduation from Harvard. Running for three seats in a field of three dozen, Keverian used a high-speed motion picture camera suggested by his brother that could capture still images of each house in the ward. He sent an individualized flier to each house with a photo of their own home and a message about the attention he would offer the neighborhood. He served on the Common Council until 1961, serving as President of the Common Council from 1960 to 1961. In 1966, Keverian was elected to represent the 20th Middlesex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. From 1975 to 1978 Keverian was the House Majority Whip, the number three leadership position in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In 1978 Keverian was chosen to be the House Majority Leader, the number two leadership position in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, he won the position as Speaker of the House from fellow Democrat Thomas W. McGee in January 1985, bringing reformers in the legislature to back his candidacy. Though he was able to bring greater openness, he had difficulties as a leader and in pushing through legislation. He left the post, and state politics, in 1991, after losing the Democratic party primary for Massachusetts State Treasurer. He returned to Everett, where he was appointed as the city's chief assessor in 1995. He lost the position in 2007, with Keverian claiming that he had lost the post due to conflicts with the city's mayor; the mayor stated that the position had been eliminated. Weighing as much as 400 pounds by 2002, Keverian blamed his place in the public eye for his weight problems, telling a 2003 forum on obesity at the Harvard School of Public Health that "People can be very, very cruel, even when they're not trying to be" and that "Having all that publicity and public acceptance worked against me". He was able to bring his weight down to 260 pounds following gastric bypass surgery in 2002. The George Keverian School in Everett, Massachusetts is named after him. Keverian had been scheduled to read a Dr. Seuss book to first-graders at the school on the day of his death. Keverian died at age 77, on March 6, 2009. He was buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Everett, Massachusetts.

His obituary-
George Keverian, 77 House Speaker, rival of Lynn's McGee Sr:- Monday, March 9, 2009

Former Massachusetts Speaker George Keverian, who courted reform-minded colleagues in an effort to bring more open leadership to the House, has died. He was 77.

In 1985, Keverian prevailed in a unprecedented high-profile Beacon Hill power struggle, wresting the speakership away from fellow Democrat Thomas McGee Sr. of Lynn, who had appointed Keverian to majority leader in 1978. The bitter backand-forth feud was punctuated with a one-on-one showdown on Revere Beach, photos of which were published in Boston daily papers.

Keverian left state politics five years later after losing the Democratic primary for state treasurer.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) announced Keverian's death in a written statement Friday, saying Keverian championed free speech and government reform during his time in the powerful position.

"He led the House during a tough fiscal time and was not afraid to make difficult decisions for the benefit of the entire commonwealth," DeLeo said. "On a personal level, Keverian was a kind man, who made a tremendous contribution to his hometown of Everett, which he loved so much."

Keverian's time as speaker was rocky.

After courting reformers to win the post, Keverian struggled to maintain control.

Fulfilling a promise to run a more open House had its drawbacks.

Keverian found it hard to push through legislation and was seen as an ineffectual leader.

Keverian also struggled with his weight throughout his life.

Holding one of the three most powerful positions on Beacon Hill didn't help.

"Having all that publicity and public acceptance worked against me. I became depressed," Keverian said in 2003 at a Harvard School of Public Health forum on obesity.

"People can very, very cruel, even when they're not trying to be."

In 2002, after he tipped the scales at about 400 pounds, Keverian underwent gastric bypass surgery, and dropped to about 260 pounds.

In 1995 he took the post of chief assessor in Everett. He was dismissed from that post in 2007. Keverian blamed his dismissal on a political feud with then-Mayor John Hanlon, but Hanlon said the job had been eliminated.

Keverian attended Everett High School, Tufts College and Harvard College.

Memorial activities are expected to start Wednesday at noon, when Statehouse building officials said they expect to have a ceremony for Keverian's lying in state. Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday at Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge.

Family links: 
  Nazar Keverian (1889 - 1957)
  Eliza Keverian (1894 - 1982)
Glenwood Cemetery
Middlesex County
Massachusetts, USA
Created by: K
Record added: Dec 22, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 102471068
George Keverian
Added by: K
George Keverian
Added by: K
George Keverian
Added by: Dino
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 Added: May. 18, 2013

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