IRA ROMOFF EULOGY
AUGUST 1, 2013 – Arlene Romoff
This is such a difficult task for me – yet seeing all of you here today – friends, family, colleagues - I just have to tell you that it means so much to me to have your support and your love.
And, speaking of love, let me tell you the story of Arlene and Ira – it goes all the way back to the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan – starting in Mr. Howard’s English class in 1963. Ira was somehow partial to redheads – and I enjoyed being adored – so that was a pretty good way to begin a 50-year relationship. Our first date was a New York Philharmonic rehearsal at Lincoln Center – I bought the tickets – a dollar each! By our next date, the 1964 World’s Fair, romance was blossoming by the moonlit fountains. And did you know that Ira came to my Sweet 16 Party – and was annoyed that there were other people there! Next – on to City College – and a ZBT fraternity pin – and then an engagement ring by our senior year. We were married in 1970 – and our first dance was “Someone to Watch Over Me.”
And THAT song was prophetic. As I started losing my hearing, Ira did, indeed, watch over me. He was devoted to me, to my well-being, and to my happiness – just as he was always devoted to his family and to his friends.
We did work as a team, though – as I became “the banker’s wife” – and we became “Michael and Emily’s Mom and Dad.” We were quite a team, too – and outwardly looked so normal. Yet my hearing loss was the invisible damper that couldn’t be ignored.
But – for those of you who knew Ira in business – good strategy can triumph over weaknesses. Just last week, Ira told me that when we were tennis doubles partners, many years ago - he would call “SWITCH” so our opponents would think I would cross the court – but he knew I wouldn’t hear it, so wouldn’t switch. (Are you following this? It’s really quite brilliant!)
We had other strategies too (that I was actually aware of!) I communicated by subtle facial expressions when I needed his help understanding something – and he always “got it.” He most surely “watched over me” – and I really needed him to. And he never faltered – or complained.
And then a miracle happened – something we never could have imagined back in 1970 - cochlear implant technology allowed me to hear again – and with two devices, one in each ear, I could finally turn to the sound of my name – something that had eluded us for four decades. Can you imagine the look of joy on Ira’s face when he could finally do something as simple as call my name, and I would turn around? No matter how many times we did this, we still smiled – it just never seemed to get old.
And that brings us to the present – just as recently as this past weekend, Ira helped me participate in a cochlear implant convention – assisting in my booksignings and such. He took such joy in being that “someone to watch over me” – as if nothing had changed in 43 years. Except today I’m on my own – but I’m pretty sure he’s still watching over me – and watching over you, too.