Dicran B. Barian
Retired Navy Captain, age 99
Dicran B. Barian, retired Navy JAG Corps Captain, died of heart failure at home in Chatham on June 4, 2020. He was 99 1/2 years old to the day, and had enjoyed a truly wonderful life.
Born in Constantinople on December 4th, 1920, Dic and his family escaped Turkey and immigrated to the United States, arriving through Ellis Island in 1925. His earliest memories included the aromas of the steamer and watching the men stack their hats on the porthole sills during the Atlantic crossing, tending his beloved pigeons on the roof of his family’s South Bronx walk-up apartment, watching his father stump for Roosevelt from the back of a small truck, rooting for his beloved Yankees, and exploring the many wonders of New York City as a boy.
Dic was very proud of his Armenian heritage, and like so many immigrants was equally proud and grateful to be an American, devoting his life to serving his country, his community, and his family. After graduating from Phillips Academy at Andover (where he worked as a waiter in the school dining hall to pay for his education), he enlisted in the Marines while attending Williams College. He completed his Williams degree on an accelerated schedule and served as an artillery officer during World War II. Following the war, Dic earned a law degree from Harvard Law School. It was during this time, while attending a film in Boston with a law school classmate, that Dic spotted a green-eyed beauty in the lobby and was immediately intrigued. He then had the great good fortune of running into her later that evening at a nearby Brigham’s ice cream shop. Her name was Ann Rogers, and she was equally smitten. They began dating, quickly fell in love, and were married in May of 1950. Dic and Ann had barely set up a household when he was recalled to active duty with the Marines during the Korean conflict. When the conflict ended, and now with a young family, Dic opted to continue his legal career in the Marines, later transferring to the U.S. Navy in 1961 to serve in its JAG Corps.
Dic’s military service was distinguished and varied, ranging from assignments in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations (serving as counsel to then Rear Admiral Zumwalt), serving as Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General for the Administrative Law Division, and finally serving as an appellate judge in the Court of Military Review for the Navy and Marine Corps. Following retirement from the Navy in 1971, Dic continued public service, concluding his career at the Library of Congress where he led the Bill Digest division within the Congressional Research Service.
In 1977 Dic and Ann said farewell to the Washington D.C. area and relocated to Chatham, which for both felt like coming home. The family had vacationed on the Cape many times, and it had become a gathering place for extended family. Dic quickly found ways to continue community service in Chatham, serving on several local boards, including the Friends of the Eldredge Public Library and the Westgate Foundation. Dic and Ann also joined St. Christopher’s Church, where Dic twice served as Senior Warden, served as Treasurer, and volunteered in the Thrift Shop in the tough to fill Saturday morning spot!
Beyond his professional and community service accomplishments, Dic will be remembered for his steadfast optimism, deep humility, boundless generosity, ability to see the beauty and wonder in nature (and inspire that wonder in others), love of history and classical music, devotion to birds, compassion, and impish sense of humor. He led quietly, by example, and all of us who had the privilege of being with him are infinitely better for it.
Dic left this world on his terms -- in his own home, surrounded by family, lucid to the end, and savoring life. In his final days he enjoyed Macintosh apples and dark chocolate, Frasier episodes and hearty laughter, conversations about real leadership, and his cherished New York Times. The family would like to thank Broad Reach Hospice and Janet Whittemore, whose loving care and support enabled Dic to remain at home, his greatest wish.
Dic was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 39 years, the former Ann Rogers of Brookline, who died in 1989, and his dear companion of 18 years, Jean Young of Chatham, who died in 2011. He is survived by many treasured family members and friends, including his children Rick, Mary Lou, and Sally, son-in-law Bryan, grandchildren Derek and Anna, nephews Steven and Edward Dingilian, grand-niece Mariam, cousin Marnos Lelesi, family in heart Jan and John Young, and so many beloved nieces and nephews from the Rogers clan. He is also survived by cherished pup, Murphy, who brought him immeasurable joy.
At Dic’s request, no memorial will be held. Dic’s family suggests that any gifts in Dic’s memory be made to either the Friends of the Eldredge Public Library in Chatham or the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown -- and to be sure to vote, which Dic continued to encourage to the end!
From the children, with immense love and gratitude, a lyric from the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which Dad often sang in his beautiful baritone when we were very young:
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark…