Arthur Birnbaum led a life full of appreciation for nature, community, and good food. Born July 26, 1941, to Solomon and Ray Birnbaum, Arthur was an only child but was part of a close extended family. Growing up in Brooklyn and Long Island, he lived next door to his cousins Larry (Stephanie) Krames, Elliot (Rosellen) Krames, Jennifer (Bob) Futernick, and Nancy (Natan) Huffman. In 1974, he made his permanent home in Ithaca, New York. Arthur was a devoted father to Jennifer (Mark Lawrence) Birnbaum, Daniel (Matt Basile) Birnbaum, and a loving grandfather to Zeke Birnbaum Lawrence. He is especially missed by his longtime friend and former wife, Gail Birnbaum.
As an adult, Arthur led a diverse and colorful life, working as a computer research office manager, rural letter carrier, scientific supply salesman, military photographer, fraternity chef, and personal caterer. His focus, however, was on family, life-long learning, music, and the outdoors. Arthur enjoyed listening to classical, world, and folk music and watching indie movies. He loved to introduce his friends and family to international vegetarian delicacies. He seemed to know every hidden trail in the Ithaca area. In the 1960s, as an organizer for the NYNJ Trail Conference, he helped reconnect a historical trail called the Long Path. It is now the longest in NYS, stretching from Manhattan to the Adirondacks.
Arthur was a curious conversationalist and thrived on deep connections. He gained spiritual insight at Wisdom’s Goldenrod Center for Philosophic Studies and studied the Jewish spiritual tradition of Kabbalah. Arthur led meditation groups, ran book club meetings, and hosted poetry readings. In later life, he published a book of his poems and prose entitled “Perspectives,” which he started writing as a young man. He was an advisory board member and volunteer for many nonprofits throughout the county, including Tikkun v’Or, Lifelong, Suicide Prevention, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Loaves & Fishes. In the summer, you could often find him dancing to bands on the Commons or picnicking at Taughannock. During the rest of the year, he would attend multiple concerts per week, equally happy listening to his children and grandchild perform as he was watching world-famous musicians like Yo-Yo Ma. His friends and family will miss his open heart, his keen sense of humor, and his love of everything that life had to offer.
Arthur passed away peacefully on April 18, 2022, after a long struggle with dementia. He was buried in a private family-only ceremony. An in person memorial service by invitation only will be held on May 22 at Tikkun v’Or. To attend virtually, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a Zoom link.