Obituary: Arlene H. Pollack
Arlene H. Pollack of Roseland, a former longtime resident of Montclair and a mathematician who helped design rocket engines, died peacefully at home on Oct. 1, 2022. She was 92.
Mrs. Pollack was a graduate of Smith College and a supporter of the college and women’s education and achievement.
One of only nine women in her class with a math degree, she was proud to have worked as a mathematician, designing gas turbines for rocket engines in an era when the field was virtually 100% male.
For more than a decade, she helped run the Montclair Smith Club’s auction to raise scholarship funds and was thrilled when daughter Susan and granddaughter Katie also chose to attend Smith.
Mrs. Pollack was a loving mother and grandmother, devoted to education and to helping others. Her service roles included traveling to Poland to teach English, volunteering as a counselor at Paul Newman camps for children with severe illnesses and funding education for nurse’s aides.
She was a staunch advocate for providing opportunities to people who had not received them, including years of support for the Bard Prison Initiative. She was dedicated to giving back to her community and relished serving as a grand juror and as an election volunteer. She was hoping to sit on at least one more jury in her lifetime.
While it was not a natural role for her, Mrs. Pollack networked tirelessly as a corporate executive wife and was a master at remembering details of the lives of all she met. Simultaneously, she restored the 18th century home where her children grew up. When that phase of her life ended, she thrived independently and bounced back from injuries repeatedly.
She read copiously and loved time with her beloved children and grandchildren. She also had a lifelong love of convertibles, the beach, dancing and music, from Beethoven to Billy Joel. She traveled to Mozart’s birthplace and attended concerts up until the week before her death.
She loved to take her grandchildren to Broadway shows and played the CDs in her kitchen. She proudly supported her children and grandchildren’s educational endeavors and stayed actively engaged in their activities, from sports to travel.
She enthusiastically followed surfing, soccer, long-jumping, equestrian sports and the football teams of her grandchildren’s schools. Her bridge group remained friends, separated only when COVID and death intervened.
Mrs. Pollack is survived by her children, Susan Van Knowles, of Lexington, Kentucky; Ann, of West Orange, and Peter (April), of Rockaway Township; her grandchildren, John, Trevor, Arianna, Natalie, Ethan, Katie and Lucy, and her beloved aide, Madde Searwar.
Services were private and arranged by Codey Funeral Home of Caldwell. A celebration of her life will be scheduled at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Pollack would have appreciated donations to Smith College, the Bard Prison Initiative or World Central Kitchen.