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Arnold D. Popinsky

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Arnold D. Popinsky August 21, 1930 - May 6, 2010 Arnold Dave Popinsky, artist and founder of Clarksville Pottery, died Thursday, May 6, in his Austin home after losing his battle with leukemia. He was 79. Born in the Bronx section of New York City, Arnie did more in his lifetime than he ever imagined, which he credits to a series of serendipitous encounters, a courageous wife, a close family, and an abundance of friends now scattered throughout the country. Arnie was and will remain an original-an artist, a teacher, a mentor, and a friend to many-a man who lived fully, boldly, and with adventure at every turn. Arnie received his undergraduate degree at the State University of New York-Buffalo and earned an MS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a professor of art at Beloit College in Wisconsin for 20 years and artist in residence at the University of Guadalajara, Scripps College, and the University of West Florida prior to opening a successful crafts gallery in his beloved Austin. Along the way, he developed a deep appreciation for opera, theater, art, boating/sailing, politics, and cooking. Arnie's first love was art, a passion that took root as a teenager at the Art Students League of New York, where he met an inspirational teacher who launched him on his journey. When Arnie opened Clarksville Pottery in 1977, he did so with one credo: "Make friends, not sales." And that he did. He made friends with his staff, his customers, his vendors, and anyone who took the time to say hello and listen to his stories, which were long and wonderful and often involved the Ottoman Empire. Fortunately, he made sales as well. For many, Arnie held hero status, able to see the inner spark of creativity in everyone he met. He lived his dream with joy and appreciation. During his last week of life, Arnie was surrounded by friends and loved ones as he held court in his West Austin home-telling tales that will long be remembered. Arnie is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Sydelle, son Mitchell, daughter Diana, son-in- law Bill, granddaughter Emma, grandson Zachary, and sister Annie. Arnie was preceded in death by his sister Molly. Special appreciation goes to his niece Michele and extended family and friends who showed such love during his lifetime. Friends and community are invited to attend a "Celebration of Life and Remembrance" at Congregation Beth Israel on Sunday, May 23, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions designated "For Arnie Popinsky Memorial Fund" may be sent to: MD Anderson Cancer Center, PO Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210- r4486, or to Congregation Beth Israel, 3901 Shoal Creek, Austin, TX 78756.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on May 9, 2010
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