1940 - 2018
ARNDT Celestine Favrot Arndt 1940 - 2018 Celestine Favrot Arndt died at her home in Encino, California, on Saturday, July 21, 2018, surrounded by her beloved family. She was 77. Ms. Arndt was born August 3, 1940 in Houston, Texas, to Laurence H. Favrot, a businessman and philanthropist, and Johanna de Kanter Favrot, a devoted mother and supporter of historic preservation. She attended St. John's School in Houston, which she loved, and Brillantmont School in Lausanne, Switzerland, which she detested. She studied with philosophers Richard Rorty and Stanley Cavell at Wellesley and at UC Berkeley, where she earned a B.A. in philosophy. In 1962, she married Thomas Moore Arndt, with whom she had four sons. They lived in Taipei, Taiwan, from 1962 to 1965; New Delhi, India, from 1967 to 1969; and Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 1976 to 1978. Between stints overseas, they lived in a drafty, wood-sided house at the end of a dirt road in McLean, Virginia. Ms. Arndt earned an M.A. in Medical Sociology from George Washington University, for fieldwork she did on Ayurvedic medicine while staying with Buddhist monks in Wegeriya, a small mountain village in rural Sri Lanka. After her husband died in 1985, she spent a year traveling the world. She returned to Washington, DC, and worked for three years as Assistant to the Director of the Federation of American Scientists. In 1993 she began a long and loving relationship with Sonny Fox, then Chair of the Board of Population Communications International, and a former host of the children's television show, Wonderama. She moved to California in 1994, to live with Mr. Fox in the hills above Encino. Ms. Arndt was a passionate activist and supporter of many non-profits, including the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Population Communications International. She deeply loved and was loved by her four sons, Dr. Channing Arndt, now Division Director at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC; Dr. David Arndt, Tutor at Saint Mary's College of California; Michael Arndt, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "Little Miss Sunshine"; and Christopher Arndt, author and President of the Cornet Creek Foundation in Telluride, Colorado. She disavowed all credit or blame for her sons' endeavors. She was not without flaws. Her sense of adventure was occasionally unencumbered by prudence or common sense. Her taste in sofa upholstery lapsed in the early 1970's. But she was also extraordinarily thoughtful, gracious, kind-hearted, and warm. She had a genius for friendship, and for bringing out the best in people around her. In 2013 she was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer, which she fought for five years with stoicism and grace. She was a philosopher to the end, facing death with courage, humor, and serenity. Some virtues are self-effacing: kindness is discreet; wisdom does not claim to be wise; true generosity gives in secret. So the best-lived lives are sometimes the least known. Such was the life of Celestine Favrot Arndt. She is survived by Mr. Fox; by her brother, Dr. Laurence Favrot, Jr. of San Diego, California; by two sisters: Dr. Jeanette Peterson of Rancho Santa Fe, California, and Ms. Romelia Favrot of Johnson City, Texas; by her four sons; and by six grandchildren, Abigail, Henry, Mason, Athena, Alden, and Graham. A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held Saturday, September 8th, from 4 to 7:15 p.m. at Rancho del Cielo in Malibu, California. In lieu of flowers, her family requests donations in her name to one of the non-profits she supported, and that all who knew and loved her register and vote in the mid-term elections in November.
Published by The Washington Post on Jul. 29, 2018.
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Memorial service
4:00p.m. - 7:15p.m.
Rancho del Cielo
Malibu, CA
Sponsored by anonymous.
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34 Entries
Mirette and I only got to know Celly and Sonny in recent years, but Celly was the sort of beautiful and loving soul that you hope to meet your entire life. As a cancer survivor, Mirette had a deep understanding of how much courage and strength Celly had to muster to deal with her condition. She will be sorely missed but long remembered.

Michael Levine
Michael Levine
August 25, 2018
Quite simply, she was the nicest person I have ever known.
August 19, 2018
Dear Arndt Family,

We are saddened by your loss and our thoughts are with you. If you need anything let us know.

Park family
August 11, 2018
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
August 10, 2018
Cely brought her magic to Playwrights Project, becoming our partner and my cherished friend. She will be dearly missed.
Deborah Salzer
August 8, 2018
What a magnificent obituary and summary of Cely's amazing life! She was a kind and generous person, always a joy to know and love. Her support of worthy causes and those who seek to leave the world better for their having lived can be inspired by her time and significant contributions. She gave her time, talent and treasure and the most important gift of all...herself. Rest in peace, Cely. We love love you and will never forget the legacy you left us.

Dave and Mimi Andrews
David J. Andrews
August 8, 2018
I am so sorry I never met Celestine Arndt. It appears she was a perfectly delightful human being (even though "her taste in sofa upholstery lapsed in the early 'seventies"). How her family will miss hr. I will be sure to donate to one of the organizations she supported and, of course, vote this November. A life well lived, indeed.
Cindy Claymore
August 7, 2018
What an honor to have known Cely for such a long time. She epitomized kindness, compassion, and integrity. This world will miss her humor, charm, and authenticity. Bon voyage! On to your next adventure.
Tshewang Wangchuk
August 7, 2018
Dear Family of Ms. Arndt. I happened to read her obituary in the New York Times and wished that I knew her for just a minute of my life. Should I only be so funny and graceful at the end of my life. A life well lived indeed.
Dr. Renata Hejduk
August 6, 2018
May you celebrate a life well-lived and cherish the many memories created along the way. May you find strength & gain comfort and God's loyal love. Psalms 103:8
August 6, 2018
Thank you for sharing (so eloquently) the details of Celestine's life with those outside her circle of friends and colleagues. We can only aspire/hope to make a difference during our all too brief stint on this marbled bowling ball hurtling through space. She did. I feel welcomed into her korass. Namaste.
Jehr Madewell
August 5, 2018
Extraordinary obituary for an extraordinary woman. My sympathies to the entire family and, especially, to you, Sonny, on the loss of your beloved partner.
Helen Boehm
August 5, 2018
The remembrance of Celestine Favrot Arndt that appeared in the New York Times describes a magnificent woman and person. I did not know Celestine (if I may) at all but I truly wish I had had the privilege. The description of her life, her love of life and her commitments inspires us all to do more good in this world and to cherish our family and friends. Thank you.
Ellen Kraly
August 5, 2018
I met Cely on the tennis court of our mutual friend in around 2000. We soon discovered our mutual interest in biking, hiking, travel and politics. She was the most caring, positive and encouraging influence in my life. Cely loved Indian food and after my trip to India we enjoyed many meals at the local Indian market. Mango Lassi and Masala Dosa were her favorite things. She was always doing things for the greater good in the US and was a force for funding the Fabindia school in India started by her dear friends the Bissells.

I feel lucky to have been able to spend quality time with her in the last month. She loved the ocean and we went for an afternoon, where we enjoyed watching the waves for three hours.

Most of all I will miss her welcoming warmth, easy smile, sense of humor and her intellect. She was the "wind beneath my wings".
Bonnie Flamer
August 2, 2018
Bonnie Flamer
August 2, 2018
Bonnie Flamer
August 2, 2018
Bonnie Flamer
August 2, 2018
Cely Ardnt was life's Ambassador of Goodwill. Smart, caring, passionate, funny, and a generous donor of support, pride, and emotional confetti to her family, friends, associates and people she never met around the world. She was in love with and devoted to her husband, Sonny Fox, and genetically engineered some of the most amazingly talented and ethical children who continue to endow another generation with thier gifts of joy and humanity l will miss her greatly, In lieu of upholstery, please donate to the charities she was passionate about.
Marian Baylin
August 1, 2018
I didn't know her but I wish I did! She sounds like such a fantastic interesting lovely person. Her family is so blessed to have had her in their lives.
Jean Beers
August 1, 2018
Actually the most caring, generous, unselfish, loving woman I have ever met in my life,,,Even though you moved out of VA for California, I missed you Cely and will always miss you and never forget you
July 31, 2018
i wish i had met her
jere holman
jeremiah holman
July 31, 2018
The love and youthful good nature which Cely shared with all of us seemed to be undiminished by life's difficulties, which she faced with such courage and constancy. She will be irreplaceable. I'll think of her often and be inspired to be better! The memorial written by her son has her spirit in it, I think she would be delighted. Thank you for sharing her with us. I feel blessed to have been included and send Cely's family my love.
Victoria Wall
July 30, 2018
Thanks for sharing this thoughtful, and beautifully written remembrance.

Celestine was a continually radiant, kind, and Generous woman, from the moment I first met her - roughly 1986 - at home in VA, hanging out with my dear friend Chris, I knew she was wonderfully different from any of the other Moms.
My parents had lived in New Delhi in the late 60's, as well, and that experience that shaped my home was evident in Hers.
Over the years I spent time with her and Sonny on the tennis court in Los Angeles, their homes on Nichols Canyon, and later Encino, where they took me in, and always provided cheer to a struggling actor. Chris and Patty's wedding in Maine was a sparkling highlight, visits to Jalmolonga (sp), and her glowing face backstage after performances of mine with LA Theater Works, are memories I'll always cherish.
I'm so grateful to have gotten some Family time with all of you this past Holiday, to have had that last visit w Cely, and bask in the warmth of her compassionate glow.
She will be dearly missed, and we are all so Fortunate to have known and loved her.
Josh Stamberg
July 30, 2018
I read this obituary in the Washington Post and cut it out to share with my granddaughter, also a Wellesley student, and very clever. I want her to craft a similar loving tribute for me when I die! The love, sense of adventure, and passion for learning shines through, as does the whimsy and reality of a life well lived. The reference to her taste for upholstery lapsing in the 70s had me laughing out loud. I think we could have been good friends if our paths had crossed.
Mary M
July 30, 2018
In June of 1946, I met Celestine at her age of 6 or 7, in the residence of her grandparents in Mexico City whom she and her family were visiting. There were other English speaking friends in the home at the time. To my
amazement, Cely and her older sister were often asked to accompany and to translate for these friends from Spanish to English and vice versa upon their leaving the home which the little girls readily and happily did.
Now, over the 72 years later, Celestine has steadily kept in touch with me by visit, phone, and the internet. I already sorely miss that.
My deepest sympathy,
Ellen de Kanter
July 30, 2018
Georges M. Halpern
July 29, 2018
I never met your mother, but after reading the obituary in the Washington Post, I certainly wish I had. She clearly was a wonderful woman, partner, mother and friend. Your obituary was a loving and funny tribute that I can only guess she would have loved! Thank you so very much for brightening my day in such a lovely way.
Dana Koch
July 29, 2018
Condolences to the family. May the peace of God comfort and strengthen you through this difficult time.
Psalms 94:19
July 29, 2018
I knew Cely many years ago when we worked together at the Federation of American Scientists. A friend of mine shared the obituary with me online with the comment "this lady sounds amazing, I wish I could have known her. It took me a moment, as it has been many years, but I realized I did know her. I remember her fondly, and thanks to her, I developed a love for mango lassi which continues to this day. What an extraordinary person she was and what a life she lived. My condolences to her family and friends.
July 29, 2018
I did not know Celestine, but your tribute makes me wish I had. This is a lovely homage. I wish comfort to all of you.
Nancy McCullough
July 29, 2018
Please accept my deepest and heartfelt condolences at this time of your loss. May the God who "binds up the brokenhearted" and "comforts all who mourn" sustain your family during this difficult time. Isaiah 61:1, 2
July 29, 2018
May the Almighty be your family as you mourn your loved one.
July 29, 2018
You are not alone during this time of sorrow and pain. May God give your family strength and comfort to help you endure this loss. As you remember your beloved one, the God of peace give you comfort and peace in every way. May you find Strength from the love and care that surrounds you and comfort in the memories that you shared. Please accept my sincere condolences. IS 41:10
July 29, 2018
Cely was a delightful, warm, engaging person whom I've admired all my life. She and Uncle Tom raised one of finest and most capable families I know. Cely and Tom live on in all their offspring, and the world is a better place for it. Our deep sympathy for your loss. Max and Lynnie
Max Fletcher
July 29, 2018
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