Arvin Grabel of Newton, Ma. died peacefully after a long illness on March 13th. Just a few days before, he celebrated his 85th birthday with his loving family: his wife of 51 years, Ruth, his daughter Sarah Gracombe, his son-in-law Alfred, and his grandson Trevor.
The son of Ira and Bertha (Alter) Grabel. Arvin was a devoted brother of Judith Brickman and uncle to her three children, Eugene (Michele), Bobbi (Steve), and Marla, and great-uncle to a great-niece and great-nephews. He was born and raised in the Bronx, where he developed his passions for the Yankees, the Giants, jazz, Broadway, and bagels. He earned his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Ph.D. from New York University, then moved to Boston to begin his lengthy career as a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University. There, he distinguished himself for his commitment to excellent teaching, for which he won university-wide recognition and where he pioneered interdisciplinary education and long-distance learning. He served as chair of the Faculty Senate Agenda Committee and the university’s NCAA academic representative. He was also the author of two engineering textbooks translated into many languages.
Arvin’s lifetime commitment to civic engagement shaped his experiences from early protests of the Vietnam War to his longtime membership on the Newton Citizen’s Commission on Energy. Arvin will be remembered for his remarkable ability to get along with everyone, the variety of his interests (he was impossible to beat at Jeopardy), his special ice cream-filled afternoons with his grandson, and his optimistic determination during his last few years. Throughout it all, he was devoted to his friends and family, with whom he enjoyed nothing more than a long dinner full of good conversation, good (bad) jokes, and good wine. He will be sorely missed.
A small private service will be held now with a memorial service to follow. Donations in Arvin’s memory can be made to Northeastern’s Snell University Library.