In Remembrance of Arlene Muzyka, June 15, 1947 – June 7, 2020

To remember Arlene is to know a woman of multiple talents, skills and accomplishments – a musician, an artist, a professional who planned medical conferences all over the world, a dedicated worker and fund raiser for non profits, and her most heart felt accomplishment – working at assisting Liz Walker at Learn at EcoVillage. Here is where she found her ideal home, representing the ideals of community and sustainable living and was so happy to be part of this great endeavor. Here in Ithaca, she so enjoyed the waterfalls, trees, and landscapes, as well as the music and art so much a part of this community.

However, for all of us who knew her well, she was simply the best friend we ever had. In the 40 years since Arlene and I met, she put herself in a supporting role in all our lives that is rarely seen. She would drive you to a conference or to a concert where you were performing or to the hospital or hold the hands of a dying friend who passed away after having cared for that person in the last days of life. I have vivid recollections of all the times she praised her multitude of friends for their potential, talents, and achievements, always willing to “get behind” them and back up their goals and ideals. If a crisis appeared in your life, her words were: “Tell me what I can do.” And she meant it.

She dearly loved her sister, Nancy, and her family and traveled out to California any and every time she was needed there. She was so proud of all them, including her nephew, AR, her niece, Marissa. and new infant grandniece, Clover, the youngest member of the family. She told me in February when she was there and got her dreadful diagnosis, that she was so glad she had a chance to see them for the last time. She loved and admired her husband, Jim, and so often spoke of his intelligence, his projects, and the many interests the two of them shared together over the years.

Arlene was possibly the kindest, most tenderhearted, and inspirational friend I ever had. She had a great love for cats and they all loved her, as all of us will testify when our kitties ran up to the door when she came to visit and, I am sure, they have accompanied her over the Rainbow Bridge to the other side of life. Those of us who are her friends know too well that nobody will ever replace her voice, her charming smile, and simply her presence in our lives who spoke again and again: “Tell me what I can do.”

Linda Schurman