Sad Farewell by Howard Freedlander


A common theme underscored a friend’s funeral service this Saturday. Adjectives such as intelligent, enthusiastic, exuberant, optimistic, joyful, playful, curious, friendly and religious filled The Church of the Holy Trinity, an Episcopal house of worship in Oxford.

Marshall E. Blume, who died suddenly on Jan. 27, 2019 at the age of 77, would have loved hearing family members, a friend and former associate and clergy persons pay tribute to him and his humanity. That he was an academic star for more than four decades as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance, founder of an investment advising firm in Philadelphia and a corporate board member seemed to play second fiddle to descriptions of his zest for life and love of family.

A grandson said that Blume’s grandfather name was “Grand Marshall.” He led the family in activities catering to children and his childlike exuberance.

His son said his father was perpetually curious and constantly enthusiastic. He developed an interest in dogs. But he also could be judgmental. He thought that Golden Retrievers were lovable, but not as intelligent as poodles.

Both The Right Rev. Santosh Marray, bishop of the Diocese of Easton and The Rev. Kevin Cross, rector of Holy Trinity, talked about attending meetings where Blume discussed parish and diocesan finances; they conceded they didn’t always understand what the longtime economist said, but trusted his knowledge. They also both said he was typically optimistic.

One other matter concerned Marshall Blume at meetings: an ample supply of animal crackers—another example of his childlike interests.

Blume and I had something in common. He spent his career at my alma mater. He quickly learned about my love for Penn and periodic visits. He always queried me about Penn whenever our paths crossed in Easton.

When he entered a room, he had an immediate presence. He loved to laugh and engage people in conversation.

As Father Kevin Cross said, Marshall Blume died too young. His family and friends had no preparation. A sense of vibrancy and joy vanished.

This brilliant and gregarious man touched many lives. His loss leaves a void.

Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland.  Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He  also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer.  In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.

Letters to Editor

  1. Eugenie B Drayton says

    Spot on Howard! Qe need to carry on that joy and inquisitve spirit to honor him.

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