- 92 years old
- Date of birth: Jul 10, 1922
- Date of passing: May 5, 2015
|Give me a boat that can carry two and both shall row.. my true love and I|
"Last night I watched Kiarostami’s great, enigmatic film “The Wind Will Carry Us”. At the end wanted to pick up my phone and call Alan Marcus.
This sort of thing happens every week or so.
Alan had no equal for exploring any deep reaction (intellectual, emotional, or spiritual) to a work of art, or a public action. He was so generous in sharing the benign ferocity of his mind and heart.
I can never think of his passing without remembering Antonio Machado’s elegy for his mentor, Francisco Giner de los Rios. It begins:
Como se fue el maestro,
la luz de esta mañana
me dijo: Van tres días
que mi hermano Francisco no trabaja.
¿Murió? . . .
Alan was another such “brother of the dawn light”.
Later in the poem Machado writes:
¡Yunques, sonad; enmudeced, campanas! (Ring the anvils; hush the bells!)
That’s what Alan would want us to do. And keep doing."
"Remembering Popala from Liz
To a Tiger of a Teddy...a Titan
So volatile:voracious and vocal
Humorous, hungry to hear it all
Heart-full and heartless; honing in to his truth
Complicated, cunning and cantankerous,
He filled many a night with tales and sails to many a new shore
For this alone and so much more, we honor his gifts...
And the rest? Well...we ignore
"FROM NAOMI: I also am thinking about you dad, but not just on your birthday, I think about you and talk to you off and on throughout the week. I miss your hands on the piano, and your making the fires, and your walking around with your fists clenched in fury at the stupidity of the world and I miss your kindness to outcasts, and I miss singing the beautiful songs you wrote for so many occasions, while you accompanied me on the piano and corrected my renditions, over and over, Love, Naomi"
"Hello sweet pops.. It has been a little over a year since you died.. Today you would have been 94! I cannot tell you how strong your presence is in this side of the world for me.. I ask you questions all the time and you give me the best answers that are guiding me forward.. If I say: "What would Alan Marcus do?" Usually it is the JUST thing.. the HONEST thing.. the DIGNIFIED thing.... I mostly hear you say. "RAISE YOUR VOICE FOR THE UNHEARD.. LISTEN TO THOSE THAT CANNOT SPEAK..SEE FOR THOSE THAT CANNOT SEE... AND TELL YOUR TRUTH CLEARLY.. I see your twinking mischievous smile in every corner of this beautiful house that you bought 58 years ago and it is a gift I thank you for everyday..."
"It was an honor and gift to know Alan.
Thank you Anina and Lotte for this wonderful anniversary remembrance. Charles"
"i want to correct something: i have been saying to you all that when alan died, he "left me a big mess". I t was a literal truth.
yes , he left eight piles of papers on the floor -his dying body curled upon the same floor in between the paper heaps - and then some fourteen boxes on shelves.I have spent about five hours each week for a year now together with Madina, a young helper, sorting through them..............
But in the course of this year, I learned two important things.What i called "a big mess" was how Alan needed to put things away.
Many times I would have to ask him for a bill or a piece of paper , and I'd look for a file with bills;but "no" he would say, "i have to
go through my stuff and then I will give it to you......". (sometimes he did and sometimes he didnt - but not because he
couldnt find it but because he forgot). I realize now that he visualized where his papers lay but he had to
intuit his way back to them: just like his favorite books on his office shelf.They were in no particular order and yet he knew exactly
where each one was.........his "mess" was a comfort to him : ...
So in this year I learned that it was I who saw it as a mess but it was he who had memorized it (but never felt
he needed to explain it).; he captured it in his head. It didnt need to be written down .
Secondly, i learned that in this long year, this "mess" has kept me in touch with him in the way a more scrupulously organized
inventory would not have: it has allowed me to pick up a piece of writing, here,.a letter there, ideas realized and discarded,
in a way that it brought me back to everything from our serendipitous meeting in 1948 to the present - a long trajectory -.
i have had the luxury to relive what have been the happiest years of my life. Alan was my soulmate,who with great delicacy helped me recover from World War II wounds and vice versa, with whom we parented three wonderful children, and for whom i was a muse, and ditto, vice versa...................... who can ask for more? Love, Lotte
THIS TRIBUTE WAS WRITTEN BY LOTTE MARCUS NOT ANINA MARCUS"
"Written for the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Project (MSQLP) newsletter - June 2015
By Cynthia Nelson Guion
In Memory of:
Alan Richard Marcus
July 10, 1922 ~ May 5, 2015
Carmel Highlands, CA
Alan Richard Marcus, 92 years old, whose life was dedicated to the arts and who was also a passionate advocate for social justice, passed away unexpectedly on May 5th at 5:25 AM. He suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage that came with no warning and no pain.
A Carmel Highlands resident since 1955, he was loved and is mourned by his wife and frequent collaborator of 63 years, psychologist Dr. Lotte Marcus, as well as his three adult children, Naomi Beth, Anina Ruth, and David Jonathan, son-in-law Colin Campbell, daughter-in-law Barbara Hall, three grandchildren, Gabriel Joseph, Ana Sofia and Jonathan Alan, brother-in-law Marvin Okanes, and two nephews, Jonathan and Paul Okanes.
(Excerpt from the Monterey Herald online obituary, which may be read in full at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/montereyherald/obituary.aspx?pid=174860692)
Dear MSQLP and Friends,
It is with an apology for a slight delay, as well as some sadness, that I write this note to contribute to MSQLP’s June newsletter. The announcement above may not come as a surprise to those of you who have recently been in touch with Dr. Lotte Marcus, her family or friends. At Gene Harter’s request and with Dr. Lotte’s permission to “go for it”, I have been asked to let the MSQLP family and friends know that Dr. Lotte’s husband, Alan, passed away recently. Whether or not you knew Alan personally, there is no doubt that he touched your life and that of each and every individual who has been in contact with MSQLP.
As most of you are aware, Dr. Lotte Marcus was the inspiration, first President and a founding member of the non-profit organization that became the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Project, growing (not without pains) from the grassroots efforts of Dr. Lotte and other individuals, who shared the common denominator of multiple sclerosis. There is more than one person who worked tirelessly to create what eventually became the 501(c)3 organization known as MSQLP today. Some became founding members, others contributed advice or knowledge, and yet others shared their personal histories, spearheaded fundraising efforts or performed any task necessary to further efforts to serve the MS community and friends.
Alan Marcus is one of those whose name will not be found on the formative documents for MSQLP but whose strength of character –and opinion—dedicated research, ready advice, stalwart support and (in spite of his immense frustration at times with the plodding pace and endless discussions) effervescent humour, were as instrumental in moving MSQLP forward –or as Alan would say, “getting down to brass tacks”— as filing the Articles of Incorporation, submitting the federal exempt application, hiring the first social worker and all subsequent hallmark moments.
In remembrance, I submit this excerpt from an e-mail Alan sent me in 2010, when an “MSQLP round” (of discussions) had erupted. It is one of my favorites—his usual acerbic, tongue-in-cheek analysis has only been edited to protect the names of the innocent (and others):
“It has always bemused me that there's frequently ---at the start of people-helping projects ---what Alan Greenspan (who these days is running for cover!) once called, in relationship to the stock market, "irrational exuberance" –- i.e. lots of happy expectations & hopes, an inclination to just go out and to do it, before one has truly thought everything through. The needs assessment, which everyone seems to [be] proud of, certainly required lots of careful work to complete. But it's not secret that its statistical conclusions came from facts and assumptions, which were largely known before hand. Its main value was as a device to raise money with; i.e. to demonstrate to potential donors that QLP was for "real." I.E., could point to stuff which had been "scientifically" measured, and which "proved" there was an urgent need to help people. Everyone out to get grants --and that has included me in various past incarnations ---has to pander to the American penchant for counting and measuring over & over again stuff which, in fact, is either already known, or--because of its very nature ---simply can't be measured, exclamation point! The only thing we learned that we weren't sure about before in QLP's needs assessment was that people wanted to stay in their own homes, didn't want new kinds of collective housing, didn't want to be stigmatized that way etc. Big discovery! But it "validated" QLP in the eyes of potential donors. And this continual necessity of, in effect, re-inventing the wheel by means of measuring what's going on (including things which simply defy organized measurement!) is something people prefer not to talk about. They certainly don't like to discuss the things which lie far below the surface of the ways people are suffering, and the "discoveries" made through counting heads etc. Well, you know all that.“
“I wish you every good thing in your new re-incarnation in Texas and I'm sure you'll be sending communiques to Lotte from time to time who'll share them with me. So arriba y adelante, verdad?” All best ---Alan
For those of you who knew Alan, you will no doubt be comforted by his daughter Anina’s words--and will not be able to resist a smile (and conjure up an image of Alan with that somewhat devilish twinkle in his eye, beret tilted at a jaunty angle, getting ready to deliver yet another zinger):
“He was working on the rewrite of his latest book Journey South up until the end doing what he loved and what he cared about in a place of beauty in his own home…there is also a huge exhale knowing that my dad went peacefully, no prolonged drawn out affair.. very unlike my dad.. who is a big drama king.. but his death was the most peaceful thing I have ever seen.”
If anyone would like to send condolences to Dr. Lotte and family, get to know Alan better, or share an Alan memory; please don’t miss the special place his family has created, where Alan himself stars in the most remarkable screenplay he has written—his own life story. In her note, Dr. Lotte expressed:
“…because of the suddenness of this event, my adult children and especially I, yearn to hear from you about any memories, recollections, or snapshots of Alan that occur to you. Anina has created a memorial page at forevermissed.com, where you may share thoughts, stories, photos, or movies: http://www.forevermissed.com/alan-richard-marcus/#about
“Contributions in his memory may be made to your local library. If you would please let us know of any such library contributions, we, in turn, will ship Alan’s latest books to the library as our co-donation, as Alan was disconsolate about the state of reading in our culture.”
“I will live off of my (our) and your memories. Thank you,
Lotte and Naomi, Anina and David.”
In closing, I will add that like every other person who came in contact with Alan, I found that his shell might appear to have been crusty; but he was the kindest and gentlest of souls. In a piece he wrote, which is included at the end of a presentation Dr. Lotte gave on her experience as a Holocaust survivor, he quoted a character from Kurt Vonnegut’s “God Bless you, Mr. Rosewater” who is passing on injunctions for the future, “God dammit, babies…You’ve got to be kind.”
And then, Alan himself adds:
“To be kind? Is that all? My answer, unprovisionally, is: why not?! For despite everything---despite the well-known terrors & terrorists of yesterday and today, (and, most certainly, alas, tomorrow); despite the intolerable details of the Holocaust sagas we’ve been revisiting over the years—we ought to try, I think, to keep fiercely imagining –& trying to believe in– the sheer redemptive possibilities—the transformative power—of mere, ordinary, everyday, one-on-one human kindness! And while we’re at it, we might as well pretend to live as though we were all, perhaps, part of some vast, hidden, open-ended conspiracy, striving to spread this precious attribute–lone antidote to gratuitous mad-made cruelty & suffering–as far and wide as possible…”
And because Alan deserves to have the final word in this–and because he, Dr. Lotte and I have poetry in common–may you all be kind and touched by the kindness of others, may your work with or support from MSQLP remind you daily that there are others who share or can learn from your experience. Here’s to kindness, and here’s to finding the holy spark that causes your flame to burn as brightly as Alan’s–
"Praise the labyrinth of sighs
Praise the fire in the skys
Praise the arrow in its ark
Praise the leaper in the dark.. Praise the blessed point of poise which makes gold of dull alloys and which finds for every flame its holy spark..and which finds for every flame its holy spark...
by alan marcus
Here’s where we raise our glasses and say: “I’ll toast to that!” and “Thank you, Alan!
[December 2015 postscript:
Dear Dr. Lotte, Anina, Naomi and David--
Thinking of you all this holiday season and sending best wishes for the coming year. While Alan is missed, the torch he has passed burns brightly--and given recent world events, the admonition to be kind seems particularly necessary and pertinent today.--Cyndi]"
It is Christmas Eve day. For some reason, I found myself remembering your father and decided to surf the internet, where I learned just now of his passing last May.
I still vividly remember an evening with you and your parents at your beautiful woodsy home in Carmel Highlands in 1978, just before I left for the Peace Corps. In the "backstage" setting of that remarkable house, I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. Immediately after, I read two of your father's books, and shared them with many people. I lost those books (and everything else) in the Oakland fire in 1991 but later replaced them. Plan to reread them now. May Alan's spirit soar! I'm privileged to have known him, and you. Hugs to you and your mother. David Whitman, San Jose"
"Dear Lotte and family,
While Dana and I shared some thoughts upon notice of Alan's passing, we have just discovered this wonderful site of many beautiful tributes to Alan as a partner and a parent, as a friend, a writer, an artist, a politico, and so much more. Just seeing how Alan touched so many people affirms Dana's and my memories of his strong presence that included a mix of keen focus on an issue at hand with his humor and sometimes acerbic wit. Dana and I will remember some of our early meetings as we settled in the Salinas Valley after meeting in the United Farm Workers movement and connecting with Lotte and Alan in what would become periodic intersections at political rallies, demonstrations, and house meetings.
Lotte, our thoughts are with you and your children as we know these days must be full of emptiness and the pain of loss of your longtime partner, husband, and friend, but we also know that you carry a rich catalogue of not only memories, but also Alan's extensive writings that we hope will provide a sense of his voice and presence that will come to provide solace and connection.
We appreciate what you have shared as we appreciate your continued ability to look at the bigger world around us and raise your voice in a cry for justice and sanctuary for those who have been forced to flee from countries plagued by war.
With a strong embrace and deep affection,
Bill Monning and Dana Kent"
"It would take more than a few words to describe how I remember Alan. However, what comes to mind is that Alan was always there for my wife, Zia, and me around election time. We would ask Alan his view on the many complicated state propositions, and he would always give his unique studied viewpoint. I miss you, Alan. Although you are still with us. After all these years of your judgements and background stories, I just think what would Alan say and I have my answer."
"Oh happy day.. oh happy day... when you my dear dad would have turned 93 oy vey!!"
"DEAREST TREASURED DAD
Alan Richard Marcus, my ever loving 92 year old died this morning at 5:30 at Community Hospital. Last night, my mom found him on the floor in his study unresponsive to any stimuli and a small amount of blood coming from his mouth. Paramedics and ambulance came and rushed him to emergency where an MD Grover? (I think) said he has suffered a massive hemorrhage and will not survive. He was put on comfort measures and has no pain till the end. He was, working on the rewrite of his latest book Journey South up until the end doing what he loved and what he cared about in a place of beauty in his own home.. Surreal is hardly the word for what I feel right now.. it is a deep ache, a deep longing.. a deep understanding that nothing will ever be the same again without my dad...... but there is also a huge exhale knowing that my dad went peacefully, no prolonged drawn out affair.. very unlike my dad.. who is a big drama king.. but his death was the most peaceful thing I have ever seen. Naomi, Lotte and I went to the morgue in the hospital and there he was: cold, blue, white, jaw tight and open. His skin looked beautiful and I held his hand and said: "Dad you would have loved the stories the nursing supervisor told us about other people she has accompanied to the morgue including a Buddhist who chanted and danced around the hospital for 3 hours and she swears the hospital was calmer. I thank you dad for this rich and complicated life you gave me.. You were the coolest cat and way cool without even knowing it. The beret just added to your look but you were just as cool without it.... "
Dad: Soulful, deeply loving, wildly original, intensely passionate.
You had bouts of tremendous anger and rage and yet you were astoundingly kind and generous. A natural loner, who dug into your crab like study and stayed for hours to work; but, you also craved so much attention.. it was almost impossible to ever fill you up. Truest lover to the world of the Arts and a deep devotion and dedication to the written and spoken word.
You could be so damn funny.. a la Lenny Bruce and within the same breath show a lot of sadness towards the way things were going in the world.
Your curiosity about every little thing to how machines work, to hummingbirds, to politics, to justice but most of all to the details of peoples lives. You would stop whatever you were doing most anytime to hear The story.. to see how things go... You turned me onto the great jazz artists of the 50's.. but also you loved The Beatles and Johnny Cash and Edith Piaf and Mahalia Jackson.. The list goes on and on..
Travel light my friend in Peace. I am with you. I want to quote from one of your all time favorite songs:
the water's wide I can't swim o,er
And nor have I the wings to fly
Build me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I
Now love is gentle, love is kind
It's like a flower when first it's new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like morning dew
There is a ship, she sails the sea
She's laden deep, as deep can be
But not as deep as the love I'm in
I know not where I'll sink or swim
The water's wide I can't swim o'er
And nor have I the wings to fly
Build me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I
love to you all, anina
hold fast to this life...."
"I met Alan roughly 20 years ago when Lottie and he came (along with 4 or 5 others) to my house in Pacific Grove for monthly meetings. We were trying to figure out how best to help folks with Multiple Sclerosis in our local area (I have MS.) Alan and Lottie both knew the local MS population was under served – but what to do? How could we help? What kind of help? We tried collaborating with San Jose Chapter of the National MS Society. That did not really work. Alan was firm (and so logical) in his belief that we should do the implementation/fundraising and management ourselves. Alan was right and that’s what we did. We had a survey of multiple sclerosis patients done. Lottie got some initial funding and the little Non-Profit (www.MSQLP.org) that we created is still helping MS’ers some 15 years later. I will always remember him with admiration."
"In a handwritten note, Joan Baez wrote:
Alan was an integral part of that magnificent community of artists, writers, musicians, poets, madmen and madwomen, which made up Carmel Highlands and the surrounding universe.
I particularly appreciate how kind and supportive he was to Mimi, recognizing the gifted musician she was, helping her find her inner strength in the fragile world around her...
I hope you are all coming to terms with the loss of Alan and life with his spirit only. There will always be the absence of his presence, and the eternal presence of his absence......
With great affection, Joan Baez"
"I first met Alan as he was manning the control panel on a Dominican Hospital (Santa Cruz, CA) elevator ("what floor?") , on our coincident ways to see Naomi. At the time I was a poor person's lawyer working with immigrants and farmworkers in the Salinas Valley.
I was trying to act (community theatre), trying to write (poetry, plays) , trying to play music (piano, sax, guitar), trying to learn Spanish, and in love with science, math, chickens, and the Carmel Coast.
And there was Alan, in the very same elevator with me, an award winning writer, a real musician (perfect pitch! my god!), an actual flesh and blood artist who loved science, knew his calculus, fought for immigrant justice, loved chickens, spoke five languages, lived on the Carmel Coast AND was asking me where I wanted to go. I say this about Alan, but Alan was never Alan alone. Lotte, you were there too, going up to see Naomi. Alan was always only one half of the entity we know as "Alan and Lotte". It was "Alan and Lotte" that took us into a life of the mind, of thought, of articulated concern, of music, writing, outrage, overflowing bookshelves, poetry, ping pong, exotic chickens, highland gardens, hidden beaches, aspic, "little lunches", and always "Where have you been?" "Where are you going?", and, for me, at least, the assurance that I had been somewhat close to where I needed to have been and had the stuff to go where I wanted. I saw Alan's death in Anne's voice when she took Naomi's call. I felt Alan's death only when Anne said "Alan is dead." "What?" "Alan is dead." "That's not possible." "No. Yes." "Can't be. How can that be..." as if a part of my body had been torn away. Now there is a bloody confusing hole where Alan had been. But "Alan and Lotte" survives and that is the greater part of me. We hope to see you soon.
"For the short amount of time I spent with Alan, he was unforgettable.
I remember him fussing with the internet, playing the piano, eating a wonderful meal together, and sitting at his desk, writing and writing. His stories were engrossing and his laugh, contagious. My heart goes out to you Lotte and Anina for you loss. Sending love to you at this time."
"I am so sad to have learned Alan passed away.
Rachel and I spent a weekend with Alan and Lotte last year, which was such a wonderful and significant moment for us. Alan's energy, wisdom and convictions, his relationship to Lotte and to the rest of the family, all are things that we will keep with us for the rest of our lives. All my thoughts are with Lotte and their children."
"What a privilege to have known Alan Marcus. And how generous he was to those of us who make art in any form. He always made time for us, never ever seeming to ‘make time’--to take seriously what we brought to him and to offer gentle suggestions and even praise, but only when he thought our work deserved that praise.
Would it be an over-statement to say that Alan knew everything?
Probably. So how about most everything. Let’s face it, he was always the smartest person in the room. Here’s to Alan Marcus, a good man I will never forget. Tom Parks, Carmel"
"In my opinion Alan was a beacon of positivity and comfort as a soul. I was only blessed to know him for the past few years however during that time I was able to witness his deep love for, and generosity toward humanity. He was always available to answer the phone, a question, address a concern, write a letter to help someone, lend an ear, tell a story, offer a dvd of his tv shows, give you a book, poem, or article he wrote, or to play you a song on the piano to celebrate a moment. He was to us, a MIGHTY and benevolent being with a world of wonders to offer, even in the briefest of encounters. Of all the things that stand out about such a celebrated war hero and magnificent person the one that shines to me was the love and protective nature he showered upon his wife and kids. Alan was the first to brag about something his daughters or son did. He appeared as the balancing counterpart to the humble Dr. Marcus always trying to be the first one to tell about a battle she had won, or the fight she was taking up for someone. He continued until his very end to make his wife blush with his boasting of her deeds. He must have told me about courting her a half a dozen times, always adding in some new detail about her beauty, smile, or strength. When I was near Alan he was always seemed to be showering someone with his proud feelings about what they had accomplished.
Dr. Marcus said in an email addressing his passing that she felt he held on as long as he did to finish his writing. I also felt he held on so long because he loved the mischievous smile and glint in the eyes that Dr. Marcus gets when she has discovers from within that she is about to take on a larger more ominous force for the good of someone else. I believe he held onto to be near her for this and many other great adventures.
It was his love and strength that we saw and admired as we drove away from the Marcus’s house the last time we saw him. He was standing tall adoring his wife and likely saying how proud he was of her in her ear. They were standing on their side porch. He had his arm around Dr. Marcus as they looked out over their garden and watched us drive away. They had hosted us for brunch and had filled my family with inspiration. The inspirations we took away from brunch were to do more for the world, remain socially aware, fight for justice, and read more. Every time I pulled away from the Marcus’s home I had the feeling that I wasn’t doing enough for the world. I was stunned that day to find that my entire family had the same feeling come over them without my ever having mentioned it before.
It was an amazing experience to know Alan and to see someone who lived so fully from the inside out. In his honor I know that we will always aspire to be greater and to have more meaning in life!!"
What a pain!
What a great Man. I wish we knew before what a treasure we were happened to meet
- just once, on our root with both kids over California cost, where we had stayed one night
inside a travel wagon, sleeping under stars, as the roof could be lifted...Unforgettable!!
This whole stay was so-so-so beautiful altogether - hard to find words to describe,
so we were using just russian way describing total happiness and excitement - какой Кайф!
And of was all provided by an old man - Дедушка, who we called among ourselves
Later, every time we remembered about this visit, we were referring to it like "when we will get back into a dream? Go visit Dedushka Kaif !!"
Would so much love to return to that time, to visit back with your beautiful Father -
Artist and Educator.
Now it is much more clear why You are so talented ! - as a musician , singer and
Our Love is with all your Family, Nina Belyaeva, Moscow, Russia"
"Has anyone here seen my friend Alan?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
Alan was an eagle who saw a much wider picture. With great urgency and passion he wanted to share, guide, teach, convince, and explain: to communicate . . . sometimes with stories, music, kindness, humor, smiles, cunning, sensitivity, understanding, and best of all with his special brand of charm. But if he was not always right, not always convincing, not always listening, he was always true to himself and his vision . . .what he sincerely believed, and the pursuit for which he finally gave his life. His path, his truth, his energy has been for me the refreshing testament of his life. For that, if nothing else, I’ve been uniquely enriched and will always think fondly of him. I love you, Alan!
You know, he freed a lot of people
But the good, they die young, yeah.
I just looked around and he was gone."
"I saw a young man dangling a large brown sprouted onion in his left hand. It was on 6th street in LA near Westlake Park and the Elks Club.
Lotte said, "This is Alan, my friend, a writer."
Well, I thought, if Dylan Thomas put his finger into a bottle, why not Alan and an onion.
Alan was one of the most important influences in regard to Art and Literature in my life, I could write volumes about him.
I will miss him terribly."
"I was very saddened to learn that Alan had passed away. I'll never forget the profound feelings of awe, respect, and reverence that were aroused in the teenage me when Anina's passionate intellectual father spoke to our creative writing class at CHS. One thing was made clear that day: Anina Marcus had one cool daddy, and the lifelong honor and pleasure of knowing him had been bestowed upon us all. Carl and I are with you all in deepest sympathy."
"Dear Lotte, David, Anina, Naomi and the extended Marcus family—
We are saddened to learn of Alan’s death. We share, in small manner, your grief. Please accept our condolences.
We also share, again in small measure, your appreciation of Alan’s long life, his many accomplishments, his intellectual rigor and personal integrity. We join you in remembrance and celebration of his dynamic life.
We have known Alan for only about 20 years. He was in his early 70s when we met, the same age as we are now. Thus our entire experience of him is as a vital, argumentative, sometimes cantankerous old man who did not yield moral or intellectual ground easily. A model for us all.
Tom and Stephanie Coffin"
"My thoughts are with the family. I don't know what more to say. Please feel free to call if I can be of any help."
"Alan and Lotte first become known to me over half a century ago when my then wife and I were totally entranced by his manuscript and with whom we knew in publishing we tried to be of assistance.Myself, a refugee, their wanderings and wonder full settling in place along with his fabulous then recent past adventures in the halls of film fame, was a
heady tale. that through all those decades we stayed in sometimes touch, always touched our mutual hearts and minds. Their wisdoms and atctivism were living lessons to my heart and mind. He ever encouraged me to be who I am and. to do what he envisioned. The
hospitality Alan and Lotte extended was gracious and profound. His memory is with me to treasure as I pray for him yisgadal yiskadash."
"what to say, what to say - I am heart broken - thinking he would be with us forever. I'm so so grateful that I was able to stand in their kitchen making omelletes and talking with him. Actually Alan did the talking and I just tried to nod my head and pretend that I understood the depths and nuances from which he spoke; of everything from Hollywood in the 50's "That prick Louie B. Mayer!" to thinking of going into the study of physics (Fineman) to his love of his children and, supremely, of his love for Lotte. I think he would get a kick out of this Memorial page - another medium in which to write. Miss you Alan...miss you a lot."
"Alan was one of the best listeners I ever met. He and Lotte would come to the Family Practice Residency and listen to our challenges in creating culturally competent residents. He could spot some issues that were at the edges of our awareness and bring them forth.
AND he just had a great laugh.
Blessings to Lotte and their family.
Ellen and Bob"
"Alan was a storyteller and he lived and loved stories. He was the hero of his own and saw the hero in everyone. He was larger than life - well, mundane life - and he had a gift of making others know they are too. Yes, sometimes the mundane is also important and the burden to live up to our potential is too much. But Alan carried his fervor to the end and did not go gently into that good night. He honored my story and taught that my story and everyone else's on this planet is a grand and important one too. I will continue to miss his inspiring being."
"I was so very fortunate to have met Alan and to share, in a minuscule way, his incredible life. There seemed to be no end to his many facets for, it seemed, every time we conversed at any length a new and unbelievable talent or experience would emerge. He lived the lives of many men. My love to his family…we all share in this great loss."
"Goodnight, sweet prince Alan; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. So, you and I never discussed life after life and angels, did we...but you did give me a wonderful sense of who you were in the few times we met -- you with your twinkle in your eyes, keen mind, sparkling wit and prodigious talent, to say the very least! In reading all these tributes, and seeing in person the love you gave your family, you sir made a positive difference and made a better world. And one can't ask for much better than that."
"Alan was the club's consigliere who held court nightly in the club's hot tub for I don't know how many years. Whether you were a regular like me or a passerby, Alan was always ready and open to engage in conversation about the world. He was a man who appreciated language and understood the power of ideas. I sometimes had to wonder if there was ANY subject that he wasn't fully and technically conversant and knowledgeable about. He was the quintessential type of Big Sur bohemian man that attracted me to this area 40 years ago. He was rugged and charming, self determined, irreverent, poetic and wonderfully eccentric. He was Renaissance in every pore of his being. To those of us who never cared to fit in the 'box', he was the pied piper with that wry beautiful smile. Cheers Alan! Much love to Lotte and the Marcus family."
"I'm David Gorn, family friend, my parents lived in Carmel Highlands when I was born. So my memory of Alan is more of a child's memory. This is going to sound a little odd, but as a kid I remember the house more than the grownups in it -- an oasis of artistic fun among the trees, damp and lush, with those larger-than-life nasturtiums everywhere. And inside, those tall rooms, books to the ceiling, the pipe smell.
As an adult I've learned that, in some ways, the place is the man. When I think about Alan, I see the same enduring quietude. Same grandness. Books in the woods.
Toward the end of his life, it was interesting to hear Alan talk about his legacy. He was vigilant that people knew his accomplishments, his stories, his awards, he wanted to be remembered in a vivid and vibrant way. As he should be. But the one thing I felt was his strongest attribute, I never heard from him.
Alan was kind. As an adult, as a kid, insider, outsider, that trait has always come through. It would seem to be at odds with his love of bombast and high drama, but it all fit so neatly in him. It's the one thing that I saw clearly in him, that kindness, those smiling eyes.
For me, that's what I would like to emulate, that's what I will remember a decade from now when I think back fondly about Alan. Ha! I'm not sure that's what Alan would WANT me to remember, but I think it was remarkable how kind he could be."
"Alan Marcus was a hero of mine. He accomplished more in his lifetime than anyone I know. Whenever I had the opportunity to talk with Alan I realized how far behind I lagged in being a good steward of the planet. I felt like a sapling next to a giant redwood. I will miss having Alan for a neighbor. Condolences to his lovely wife Lotte and his children."
"Alan, Alan, Alan... What can I say about this wonderful, intelligent, FUNNY human being? Kindred spirits we are. You made me laugh so hard sometimes I would almost wet my pants. No one I know had more wit than you. For you to leave us on May 5th would almost seem like its something cosmic because of all the great stories you would tell me about your life in Mexico. Being a fellow musician the late night phone talks we would have were always enlightening as well as hilarious (just ask Anina). You were a fighter and if anyone had Alan on their side in any battle, that person felt invincible because Alan was right out front leading the charge on your behalf. I will always have very fond memories of Alan and many stories of him that make me smile. I'm glad that I was very blessed and privileged to know you and I can't imagine how anything would have been without knowing you. Farewell my friend...until we meet again."
"I only met you once, years ago...but I remember the joy you had in your family and your sense of place. I imagined that had my father -- also larger than life -- had a yearning for a sense of place, that he might have been very much as you were. Clearly, that weekend has stayed with me. My thoughts are with your family."
"The Marquis: “Like the Phoenix Burns” (for Alan, from Liz, May 2015)
The stage is empty; veil falls…fade to black
Eyes close; in rows… we “reel” it back
From Hollywood heights to “Highland” sea,
The word, the power, his struggles…he’s free
From heady song, from food… to hearth
No simple speak, NO! The glory…the mirth
SO much…so good… and SO much sad…
BUT OH, what blessed times we had…
“…To dance beneath the diamond sky…”
His decent so low…his ascent so high
“Bob D.” / injustice/ beauty…the wars
Clean the slates… even the scores…
This spirit; so charged, so complicated was HE,
So feisty, sarcastic…hard on the progeny
The judgments cast with penetrating ease,
EVEN NOW, says HE, “Liz, cut that line, “PLEASE!”
We’ll keep him near whether hooked or cooked
His voice bellows forth; the theater’s booked!
Whether standing or landing, the applause resounds
The body’s gone, but in loss… he’s found
The veil has fallen… close his eyes
Open hearts, cross - Tease, dot the Ayes
HE spreads new wings…so must we…so must we
We set a new course …We set him free…
Here…he was born, and now he returns…
Life unto death unto life; thus we learn…
Each season follows; our “audience” returns…
The marquis reads: “Like the Phoenix Burns”"
"This is David, the son. Below is part of what I wrote to my friends this week, and there follows some of my friends' notes back.
I became a musician because my father was a great one. A classical piano child prodigy, he also played incredible jazz piano (a student of Teddy Wilson), composed poetic songs, and always filled our house with the music of his heroes - Art Tatum, Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Cohen, Darius Milhaud, Mahalia Jackson, and so many others. His cascades of piano arpeggios suffuse my childhood memories, and in their later years, my mother and he usually slept through the night with Mozart and Bach playing throughout the house.
Bo, Atlanta, GA
I'm sorry for your loss, but I rejoice that your father had a life so bursting with creative power and that he lived it into his tenth decade and enjoyed it right up until the curtain. Your note was beautifully made.
Bo, Atlanta, GA
Ahmed Shawky Moussa, Cairo, Egypt:
My hearty condolences go to you and the family. From your note it is obvious that he was a great man. I know he will be missed but his great intellectual production will remain as extension to his life.
Ahmed Shawky Moussa, Cairo, Egypt
Rodger French, Buenos Aires, Argentina:
My sincere condolences. My father passed away some years ago at the age of 86. On his last day, he worked, came home and made chili-mac, and died suddenly of a heart attack. When we (all goyim from Kentucky) sat shiva for him, I ate some of his leftovers. Very tasty, needed salt.
A good life, a good end, a good remembrance; we should all do so well. Thank you for sharing the tidings.
Música es vida.
Rodger French, Buenos Aires, Argentina:
Hesham Rashad, Tanta, Egypt
David, Sorry losing your Dad, I understand your feeling, I lost both Dad and Mom last year just 20 days between .. my heart is with you, I share you your feelings and I wish if I am to your side in this situation, Hesham Rashad, Tanta, Egypt
Lilo Gonzalez y familia, Takoma Park, Maryland:
cuanto lo siento. Justo el lunes estaba pensando en el, pues fuimos con la familia a ver una pelicula de los farm workers y Joan Baez sale cantando Deportee en una marcha en California. Creo que fue a principios de los 70.
Mis condolencias a tu mama, hermanas, señora e hijos.
Un fuerte abrazo,
Lilo Gonzalez y familia, Takoma Park, Maryland
Mariona Espinet Blanch, Barcelona, España:
Beautiful, really beautiful text letting us know the death of your beloved father! We can tell how much you loved him as well as admire him... what a loss! This is not a very good year for you and your family, indeed!
Queremos acompañarte en este dolor, lo conocemos bien, y cuesta mucho vivir con él. Pero la fuerza de la vida de tu padre te ha marcado y estará siempre inspirandote! Qué suerte haber vivido tan intensamente con el!
Un abrazo grande, y quizas pronto podamos vernos....
Mariona Espinet Blanch, Barcelona, España
Cecilia Esquivel, Washington DC
Thank you for sharing the news. I met your dad many years ago very briefly when your family was visiting one time. And I remember some of the stories that you told me about him. What a force of Nature and what a full life! No doubt, he will be deeply missed, but living in all of you forever.
Un fuerte abrazo, Cecilia
Sharon Willis, Atlanta GA
Dr. David Marcus, I send my sincerest condolences at the loss of your father. I believe I met him at your home during one of your Holiday Gatherings. He sounded like a great father, a wonderful person, and a talented musician. He has left you a powerful legacy; and I can assure you that he was most proud of his son’s talent and accomplishments. Be well, leave in peace and may God bless you and your family.
Sharon J. Willis, Atlanta, GA"
"Oh my, Vanessa and I read Lotte, your email tonight and I cried in the beauty of your sharing, the depth of the experience you must all be feeling and the writing, the writing. Blessed are you all with the gift of sharing in this dimension.
And for Alan, dear Alan, the memories of our time with you all, the sweetnesses we shared, the meals, treats, garden, chickens.
Alan The protector, when predators lurked, he was a soldier indeed defending the flock. The encouragement he gave us to make a garden, have our dream come true on your land with goats, watch us build a coup, bring the chicks to adulthood. overseeing the goings on, always always in support, curiosity and gentleness.
You both offered Vanessa and I one of our very favorite homes to have lived in.
Its with great great fondness that we remember Alan, in his quiet, brilliant, generous, deeply mindful way. His dedication to what is “right” for all human beings, his love of his children, wife, home. How much he cared for us ~ Always feeling like he had your back.
So with yet another tear finding its way along the soft curve of my cheek, thank your for sharing all that you did, for the memories of the days spent at the Studio.
Lotte, Alan would have been so so touched by your experience, your presence, the way that your words turned into the last Stanza of a great love poem, at the end of your 63 years of life marriage. May you be surrounded by love and great hearts, by your children, by those that have felt both of your remarkable presences in their lives. With Much love Sue"
"I am so sorry to hear about Alan's passing. I enjoyed his humor and the wise stories he shared with everyone when he visited Atlanta. The entire earth grieves when there is the loss of such a creative, passionate individual. My heart goes out to the entire Marcus family, especially David, Lotte, Anina, and Naomi. Peace be with you all."
"Upon meeting you Alan, you (and Lotte/Anina and family) warmly welcomed Kristen and I into your home--for which we are forever grateful. Thereafter, I was lucky to develop a mentorship with you, and most importantly: a true friendship. Your drive to create your lifework is unbelievable and forever inspiring.. You were upfront and direct--compassionate and soulful, sharing openly your mastery of the arts and your principles centered in human rights and equality.
Most recently you captivated me with your success stories from old Hollywood--and warmed my heart with your glowing recollection of your courtship with your dear wife Lotte. You were always proud to share the accomplishments of your wife and children---and your grandchildren..... I can still hear your voice and see your blissful smile. You are dearly missed!----The power of your stories--the legacy you worked so, so hard to secure; continues on eternally. Thank you sir. Peace to you and your family."
"So very sorry to hear of the loss of Alan, a close friend of my parents Ben and Freda Maddow and a dear friend to our whole family. HIs passing leaves a hole in our lives but his friendship will always fill our hearts.
Emily Ann Maddow Dawson"
"I have so many memories of Alan; as I grew up alongside David and Anina in Carmel he cast a graceful shadow over so many facets of my life. For me Alan was the embodiment of a certain kind of Jewish intellectual - kind, brilliant, funny, quirky, playful, uncompromising. I remember him so fondly and am terribly sad at his departure."
"My uncle Alan, a man who impacted so many lives that my mother always jokingly referred to herself as "Alan Marcus' sister." He was one-of-a-kind and will always be remembered."
"Ah, Lotte, my heart goes out to you and your children - what a unique man was your Alan. A man who never hesitated to say what was on his mind; a man who stood up for every principle he held dear; a man who held out for the best in humans even when frustrated by their frailties. I am glad I knew him - and glad you found him with beret intact on his head - right where it belonged. It is how I always think of him."
"Alan - A man with a fierce, enigmatic, and polemic personality who ignored the allurements of grandeur at the cost of deep convictions.
Such a gifted writer whose words made me ponder what lay beyond my little, measured horizons. The stories he shared with me will continue to spur me on and I will chuckle when I recall some of his humorous tales."
"Avec toute l'affection de votre famille parisienne, nous sommes heureux de vous voir cet été. Nous vous souhaitons du courage, de la consolation, et que les doux souvenirs prennent le dessus.
Anne (fille de Paul,,cousin de Lotte) et Bernard"
"I am so honored to have know you and your family, Alan. What a presence, what a mind, what dignity you embodied. Fierceness and kindness. You and Lotte influenced me to do acts of activism in this world by your words and examples. I thank you for your influence.
Peace to you and your family, old friend."
"Bless you Alan! So many memories.
Swinging off the roof of the shed on the best rope swing ever.
Making a birthday record for my Mom with Naomi as Beauty and Me as the Beast.
All the family get togethers at your house, our house and Yankee Point Beach and Carmel Beach and Stuart's Beach!
My cousins renting the Marcus house.
Many delicious dinners.
Running into you at Safeway or Long', now CVS.
Your great voice. I can here you now, saying my name.
Love you, Lotti, Naomi, Anina and David. And Dear Alan!"
"Here's a great representation of Alan's astute political commenting skills in a Bush-era beat-poet polemic he shared with Barbara in February of 2003 just a month before the "shock and awe":
- Civil Defense -
Recently, the President
in a speech to
a convention of
exhorted his audience
to “rally the armies of compassion so we can
change America, one heart…at a time…”
Meanwhile, back home -----at the OK Washington corral
--- his testosterone-loaded team of
& dis-embalmed cold war spooks…
worked overtime to
1.) increase the rent for poor folks housing
2.) eliminate part of the school lunch program
3.) curtail Medicare benefits for the elderly
4.) cut programs providing childcare to low income families
5) .administer pie-in-the-sky anti-missile defense contracts to resurrect the latest version of Star Wars..even though
the project ---after 20 years ---has yet to produce
one fully simulated ---& combat ready---- test flight !…
all indispensable measures, of course, because of the billions
needed, (we’re told,)
to prevent future 9 11’s
protect us from Osama’s smuggled kamikazes
destroy Saddam’s (diabolically stashed) WMD’s
(Weapons of Mass Destruction)…
which, after ten years of rust, sanctions,
spare-parts blockades and general debility
are suddenly alleged to be “an imminent threat
to Worldwide Peace & Security…”
which, despite months of tortured
rationalization, orchestrated innuendo,
& strategic leaks,
in countries round
the globe , as well a
majority of members of the Security Council
“perversely” decline to believe….!
Nevertheless, the President
in fine (anti-wimp) fettle, keeps signing more
daily mobilization orders
while entertaining us every now then with
“Get with it, boy!”, he barks, to those of us who think
Smart Bombs hardly the answer to Islamic xenophobia.
he announces to
Saddam via TV,
--for the benefit of cameras –his patented elbow-swinging
( according to “Reliably Informed Sources “ )
he’s apt to sip a soft drink, read a few verses from
the New Testament, and be beneath covers
by 10 PM
where, most nights, he’ll “sleep like a baby”
end quote !
We. however, do not “sleep like a baby.”
Instead, we sit
bowed before the TV ,
quailing before its (non-stop) tidings of woe……
“In Jerusalem, 2 suicide bombers kill eleven. In
Pyonjang, Kim Jong Ill rattles his nukes. On
Wall Street, the stock market continues to plummet”
( though the culture of crony capitalism
-- exuberant at the prospect of taxless
dividends -- stealthily rebounds…)
But lo, suddenly –
a nightmare-dispersing antidote
And all of us….----me, you. her, him, them us ---
wondering when the next shoe-
--or bomb ---
amidst the blizzard of monthly
(color-coded) terrorist ‘alerts’
are abruptly vouchsafed
(courtesy of the
“Office of Defense Preparedness”) an
to help defend our
insure our survivable
And what is this magic word
drawing its matchless
shield of immunity
and our dear ones….?
Let us clasp, hands, dear friends,
and together pronounce its
All together now---
His uncanny wit, inimitable style, abundant kindness, and King-of-the-Corona-Road-Jungle demeanor, will be only a slight few of the multitude of things that we all will miss about Alan. He had a sense of lost magic found in the world, and his creativity brought it forth and manifested it for us all. Our hearts are one with yours, Lottie, Anina, Naomi, and David. We celebrate his life, and grieve with you at its end. Memories, and all that he left behind will gradually take their place in your hearts, and give comfort and solace to the ache that will be e'er present there."
"Alan Marcus...the intellectual tour de force of the Highlands...the Bohemian Maestro in whose presence anyone with a sense of humility would acknowledge their apprenticeship...the authentic social revolutionary who did more than just walk the talk: he blazed the fucking trail. Alan, you knew you were an icon, didn't you? You were a man of letters, of music, of piercing emotional Truth. You could have been a greater figure in the "outside world" about which you were so skeptical and critical, but you chose to eschew it and concentrate your greatness on those who met you face-to-face, mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart. Your ego was intimidating, but your essence was inspirational. You were Mentor, role model, paternal Sage. Yes, you fathered the most noble and virtuous passion in so many of us who haven't traveled as far as you. Physically, you've been reclaimed, but Spiritually, you've seeded yourself in generations to come. This is your immortality, Alan. What you cherished most...ideas, thinking, your humanity...has become your legacy. We who remain cherish you; you are within us. You have passed the mortal realm, but Alan, you're going to live a lot longer than the meager 92+ that you filled tempestuously. Thank you, Maestro, for what you have meant to all of us!
"Praise the labyrinth of sighs
Praise the fire in the skys
Praise the arrow in its ark
Praise the leaper in the dark.. Praise the blessed point of poise which makes gold of dull alloys and which finds for every flame its holy spark..and which finds for every flame its holy spark...
by alan marcus"
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