1944 - 2013
Ira J. Marion, Hartsdale, NY, died January 7, 2013, at age 68, of pancreatic cancer. The professional and personal sides of Ira's life were inextricably connected. I write this piece to show both sides, and how much he was admired and loved and will be missed.
In his professional life, Ira worked tirelessly to improve substance abuse treatment services and became an important leader in the field. Working at Albert Einstein College of Medicine for over 40 years, his dogged persistence over half of those years turned a makeshift methadone clinic into Einstein's state-of-the-art Wellness Center at Waters Place; he presented the concepts of integrated treatment and patient-centered care that are demonstrated through this project at conferences, locally and internationally, leading the entire community of addiction professionals into the future.
Ira's writing, leadership and advocacy efforts have been acknowledged with many awards, including the NY State Governor's Lifetime Service Award. To read about his many important achievements, see:
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly's website, Click Here
abhbusinessjournal.com Click Here
In his personal life, Ira maintained close friendships from his boyhood days in the Bronx and many of his colleagues over the years became close friends as well. Taking calls at any time, including weekends, he advised and supported the efforts of others in every way he could. Ira's late wife, Barbara Housner Marion, and he were happily married for 35 years. He is survived by their children, Jordan Marion and Alison Harmon; grandchildren Sydney and Taylor Harmon; and sister, Dorothy Marion. For more about family, and pictures, see the online tribute his son created at www.irajmarion.com.
Ira was special to so many people. His boyish enthusiasm was irresistible. He admittedly "chatted up" everyone he could… at work, in stores, strangers on the street… and charmed them all. His energy was boundless. He loved music, golf, James Joyce, palindromes, cars, gadgets, travel, the NY Times, fine clothing... He lit up any room, with a sense of humor that was often irreverent, but always respectful, a grin that was easy and infectious, and a deep love for his work and the people in his life.
The world is a better place because of Ira. We can support his life's work with donations to NY State Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, 1 Columbia Place, Suite 400, Albany, NY 12207. More importantly, when we stand up against the stigma many in drug treatment face, we will strengthen his legacy. And when we work to be as good as the person he saw in us, we will give back the love he had for us. A memorial is being planned at Einstein (tentatively scheduled 3/27).
I called my time with Ira our "after ever after" life. We both had lived "happily ever after," raised our families, and lost our spouses much too soon, to cancer. What happened "after ever after" was to find joy again and dream of growing old together. He will live on in my heart forever.