Irene wanted an old-fashioned, earth-friendly burial, so we will meet at one p.m. next Monday, March 15th, Rhinebeck Town Cemetery, 55 Mill Road, Rhinebeck, NY to surrender her body to the earth. Call our funeral director Amy with any questions: 718-288-0099. You are welcomed to join us or you may attend via Zoom. Here is the link you may use to watch as early as 12:30 p.m. Monday: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87483737204
I am saddened to report that Irene died in the early hours of Monday, March 8th. She passed peacefully and at home in the care of hospice and surrounded my her friends, family and song.
She wanted to return to the earth as naturally as possible. We will gather in Rhinebeck, NY, this Monday to bid farewell to her physical body. This will be in a rustic setting so please dress appropriately. We are in the beginning stages of planning a June 10th memorial tribute to celebrate her amazing life.
Thank you, in the meantime, for all your condolences and kind thoughts.
Irene was the granddaughter of social philosopher Herbert Marcuse, an accident of birth that informed a lot of her life. She is survived by her daughter Tabitha Silver, her parents Peter & Frances Marcuse, her brothers Harold & Andrew, her ex-husband Philip Silver and her future grandson Theo Shaver.
She has lived all over the United States, including New Mexico, California, New York and worked as a medical technician, long distance telephone operator, house cleaner, waitress, painter, door & wallpaper hanger, bead stringer, proofreader, and editor before receiving an MSW in social work from Columbia University. She was the Assistant Director of Morningside Retirement and Health Services before becoming a full time writer.
I cannot imagine my life without her. She lives 5 blocks from me and we spent many hours together. Of course my grief cannot compare with Tabitha’s
(we all loved our italic osmiroid ink pens; the lack of capitals is homage to e.e. cummings)
The poem by e.e. cummings is
(sitting in a tree--)
o small you
sitting in a tree
sitting in a treetop
riding on a greenest
riding on a greener
(o little i)
riding on a leaf
o least who
sing small thing
dance little joy
(shine most prayer)
Forty years later, The Hiking Club had a reunion at Echo Lake in California, a deeply emotional experience for me to see, hear, and reconnect with all these long-ago friends. And then later (for me) Facebook. It was another sort of rec-connection. Irene and I, living as far across the United States as possible, shared photos and experiences of vastly different worlds. She enjoyed my life in the wild outskirts of Fairbanks, and I loved her rooftop herbs, flowers, and birds, her Marie Kondo cleaning, the sojourn in Montana, and Tabitha’s wedding. I’ve never been to New York but I fantasized that if I went, Irene would no doubt be the best guide ever.
Even in high school, I was struck by her openness, good cheer, and self-confidence. I’m sure those attributes shone like the rays of the sun throughout her life, gracing the lives and loves that surrounded her.
~ Lisa Shon Jodwalis