Saturday, October 8, 2011

For Arthur – In Your Words

Thank you to the 120+ of you who showed up to Philadelphia Senior Center’s auditorium on Thursday for our special class in memory of Arthur, and the countless emails, letters, Facebook messages that you all have been sending to our project and me directly.

In order to browse through more photos and messages, and add your own, please click Here to go to our Facebook page, then press the “Like” button.

You guys are amazing – thank you for writing.

Helen Sunga - former staff member at Philadelphia Senior Center
9.28.11 via Facebook

I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Arthur! He always had a smile. He made so many of my volunteer projects fun. I remember him dancing at our ice cream socials.

Renee Newkirk-Avery – daughter of Beatrice, a senior in our writing group
9.21.11 via Facebook

Hello everyone at the BEST DAY of MY LIFE SO FAR writing class and my Mom and Aunt Bernice. I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Arthur. I was please to have meet Mr. Arthur on my many visits to the Senior Center. Even my resent visit to the Senior Center in August, I was able to see his beautiful smile after my visit to the class. He was late and we were coming out from the class but I had chance to say hello for the last time. I love you all and I wish you all the best and God's Blessings.

Vanessa Darby Stroud – niece of Arthur
10.3.11 via Facebook

Dear Benita & members of "The best day of my life so far" class. thank you so much for the care you showed my uncle Archie. He spoke of this class very often. I know it brought him a lot of pleasure to be able to put some of his thoughts in writing. I will always remember him as fun, loving, kind, giving, caring, funny, full of life, never met a stranger.

Linda Riley – Philadelphia PA
9.22.11 via email

Hi Benita, I'm so sorry to hear about Arthur, he was very special - as are they all. I know he will be missed, and at the same time you'll find comfort in having known him.
Take care,

Courtey Polenick – Youngstown OH
9.21.11 via email

Hi Benita,
I was so sorry to hear of Arthur's passing. Although I didn't have the pleasure of knowing him, I really enjoyed reading his stories and it sounds like he was a very special individual.

Curtis Roth – Philadelphia PA
9.20.11 via email

Arthur was a fine, fine man.  My regrets and fondest thoughts.

Kao Kue – Philadelphia PA
9.12.11 via email

I am so sorry to hear that. Arthur was a wonderful person and he was so full of life and energy every time I saw him.

Jill Chonody – Adelaide Australia
9.24.11 via email

He’s the guy who beams when he sees you.
He’s the one who always has a kind a word for you.
He’s the spirit you hope to emulate.
He has the energy that makes you glow.
Whether a song or a chat,
Arthur had something to share.
He will be missed for so many reasons,
But most of all, because he was our friend.

Bri Kurmue – senior member of our writing group
Handwritten and passed onto Jamie
Emailed from Jamie to Benita 10.8.11

Tribute To Arthur Murray


Kind spirited
A gentleman
A good friend
Always had a good word to say to you
Sharp as a tack!
Enjoyed great food
Loved dancing and singing
A good guy
Praises lived in his soul
Smiled until the very end

You will be missed Archie. Rest in peace

Peace… Bri K

Henrietta Faust – senior member of our writing group 
Handwritten in class 9.22.11
A Farewell to Arthur—Smile

To a Writing Brother Arthur.  I miss your infectious smile.  Your laughter.  And how you could take an awkward incident and make it into a major joke of the day.  That day when you shared the joke we all saw the humor in the moment.  Like that day of the tray struggle?  Two people were struggling over a food tray?  You made it a good joke of the day.

Miss you Arthur.  You loved singing, acting, writing.  So I must say farewell to our Writing Brother

- Writing Sister,, Henrietta Faust

Loretta Gaither – senior member of our writing group 
Handwritten in class 9.22.11
Arthur Murray Was a Friend of Mine

I knew him from the Uptown Theater and knew he liked to sing and dance.  My husband and he were good friends, went to Simon Gratz High School together.  Arthur was a barber, he used to cut hair at a shop at 29th and Dolphin in North Philly.  And when I came to Philadelphia Senior Center, that was when I saw him again.  Oh, I can’t remember how long it was when I saw him last before that.  When I saw him at the senior center after all those years, he kissed me on the cheek right away.  He said, “I love you, Loretta,” and I said, “I love you back.”  He loved singing and he really, really loved our writing class.  He is going to be missed by our writing class and the whole center.  I am going to miss his smile.  He is going to be missed.  I don’t know how to put this all into words.  But I feel better that I wrote this story about him.

Mo McCooper – senior member of our writing group 
Handwritten in class 9.22.11
Arthur Murray

About 2 years ago, on a day when there was confusion about which room the writing class would be in we were waiting on the large room next to the registration desk.  At the piano on the far side of the room a man was playing the piano while another man and a lovely lady were singing any words they knew to the songs.  After a little while Benita, our writing teacher, and I joined in.  We were encouraged to sing by a tall, thin man with a winning smile who also played the piano.  Arthur Murray made sure we enjoyed ourselves and learned how to harmonize at the same time.  Soon after, Arthur joined our writing group adding his positive attitude and ideas for extra socializing to the agenda.  On the charter buses to and from the NPR TV and radio studios and the Free Library of Philadelphia, among other writing class events, Arthur led us in “sing alongs”!!  I’ll miss him BIG TIME!!!