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Arelene Wolinski Obituary (2021) San Diego Union-Tribune

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Arelene Wolinski

October 7, 1934 – February 23, 2021

San Diego, CA

Professor Arelene Wolinski, 86, died in her sleep at her home in San Diego, CA, on February 23, 2021. She is survived by her husband Thad, her son Marc and daughter Elizabeth. She was born in Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York, on October 7, 1934, to Elizabeth and George Eyerman. However, she was raised in Ridgewood, Queens, New York, when by the age of ten years old, she was given a dime, two nickels, and lunch. Then off she went to New York City straight to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Arelene began her college career in the fall of 1952 at Queens College, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in History. She took advanced history classes and read the Roman historians in Latin and Herodotus in the original Greek.In 1954 on February 14, she married Thad Wolinski. Thad was hired by Hughes Aircraft, and they moved to West San Fernando Valley. While at Pierce College, she decided to become a college professor. Arelene worked for the ACLU, was the President of the local American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the President of the Republican Women’s Club. With her lead, they pressured Governor Ronald Regan to sign the “Therapeutic Abortion Act.” bill into law on June 15, 1967.Hired by the UCLA language department in 1965, Arelene found that “If you can read Greek, you can read Russian.” In fact, she could read French, German, Italian, and even Romanian. This led to work in hieroglyphs. She preferred these to cuneiform. Who wouldn’t?In 1965, Arelene was awarded an MA in history from the CSU Northridge. She also attended UCLA between 1968 and 1971 while teaching history at Cal Lutheran University. Her graduate and post-graduate training in a number of institutions such as New York University, CSU Northridge, UCLA, Harvard, and Yale. She was the recipient of many grants and fellowships, including four NEH grants and 2 Fulbright fellowships. The Fulbright’s led her to Pakistan for study-travel and England as an exchange professor in classics at Hatfield Polytechnic. They also helped her to continue research on “Ceremonial Masks of Ancient Egypt,” resulting in the publication of an article for Discussions in Egyptology, and one in Archaeology magazine, a chapter in Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Catalogue, and books such as Ancient Egypt: Personal Perspectives, Selected Readings from Ancient Egyptian Sources, and Ceremonial Masks of Ancient Egypt.When she was hired at San Diego Mesa College in 1971, the history of Ancient Egypt was not a course that was offered, but Arelene remedied that by proposing the course, History 154. It became one of the most popular history classes at Mesa College. In 1977, this popular course was televised on KPBS. She scripted and appeared in a 40-part video series on “The Culture of Ancient Egypt,” which was also broadcast in conjunction with the King Tutankhamen traveling exhibition. During this time, Arelene continued to teach at Mesa College as well as SDSU and UCSD.Arelene led tours to Morocco, Tunisia, Libya (where she camped in the desert), Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Italy, Malta, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China. Whew! She loved it, and her tours were always full and often with the same people who could not get enough of the vivacious, intelligent woman. Her personality made her a huge draw for lectures at such venues as the Bower’s Museum, American Archaeological Institute, OASIS, the Irvine Arts Institute, the San Diego Art Museum, the San Diego Museum of Man, the American Research Center in Egypt, the Mingei Museum, and UC Berkeley. She was also President of the Archaeological Institute of America, San Diego chapter, Queen’s Colleges and Academic Director for the Classical Alliance for many excursions.Prof. Arelene Wolinski, as she was known among her students at Mesa College, was keenly aware of the lack of diversity on campus, not just between the overwhelming number of male faculty. She not only helped marginalized and underrepresented students, but she also supported faculty of color. Clearly, Professor Arelene Wolinksi was an amazing human being. She inspired women around the world. She was strong and open minded in a time when that was unbecoming of a woman. She cleared the path for many women in the humanities and classics. To say that Arelene will be missed does not express the void that now exists. Her light was so bright, her energy so strong and her laugh can still be heard by all of those that love and miss her.

Published by San Diego Union-Tribune on Oct. 3, 2021.

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