Margaret Vartanoff

Obituary of Margaret E. Vartanoff

Margaret E. Vartanoff, 95, cartographer, widow of former Georgian prince. Margaret E. Vartanoff, widow of expatriate Georgian prince, Michael Sergius Vartanoff, died peacefully at her home in Aspen Hill, Maryland, on November 13, 2010 one day short of her 96th birthday, from advanced dementia. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she was the daughter of environmentalist attorney John A. Brown and granddaughter of industrialist Arthur W. Glessner, who founded the Excelsior Steel Furnace Company of Chicago. Educated at the Faulkner School and Bowen High, she received her B.A. in Humanities in 1939 from the University of Chicago. She interrupted her doctoral studies there to join the war effort in Washington, DC, in 1942, working for what was then the Army Map Service as a cartographer specializing in eastern European geographic names. There she met and married Mr. Vartanoff, a naturalized citizen who was born in Tiflis (now Tbilisi), Georgia, during the Tsarist era, and came to this country in 1922. His pre-US citizen name was Prince Mikail Sergevevitch Iskanderbeg-Khodjiminasoff-Dolguruki-Vartanoff. Mr. Vartanoff was also the simultaneous translator for Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. during the San Francisco Conference that founded the United Nations in 1945. Mr. Vartanoff retired from the Army Map Service in 1969 and died in 1970. Margaret Vartanoff worked in the Montgomery County Public Libraries and was a lifelong world traveler and patron of the arts. She was an active parishioner of the Ascension & St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, for many years. After retirement, she volunteered as an ESOL coach and Smithsonian Institution docent. She was preceded in death in 2003 by her sister, Elizabeth K. Brown, of Chicago, IL, and Rockville, MD. Mrs. Vartanoff is survived by her three children, David Vartanoff of Oakland, CA, Irene Vartanoff of Hedgesville, WV, and Ellen Vartanoff of Rockville, MD, and one grandchild, Trevor Vartanoff of Rockville, MD. Online tributes and condolences may be made at
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