Mel Pollner Eulogies
Mel Pollner

November 10, 2007
Marshall Shumsky

Mel was a friend and colleague for almost 40 years. We were an odd couple. I, the intense, combative one with hardly a good word to say about any colleague. Mel, who spoke no bad words about anyone, even when he had little respect for his or her ideas or personal life. I, unable to laugh at myself, and Mel, who enjoyed being the butt of his own humor. Mel, who stood to the side of the fray in sociology and would not join with the wolves within ethnomethodology who would slay their own kin. I, against Mel's urging, spoke ill toward both groups. Mel, a person who loved people and loved to entertain guests; I, an interminable loner. Buried within books and in work, I never learned how to enjoy myself, even though I derived so much pleasure watching Mel's restful delights.

Our different temperaments never stood in the way of our tolerance of each other's ways. We respected each other's choice of how to be true to our nature. We did more than coexist in the presence of the other, we loved each other.

My endearing images of Mel: his beautiful love for Judy; his paternal love for Leslie and Adrian; his independence; his fierce commitment to his ideas and values; and his humanity with people. Mel was a warrior for kindness and generosity. He stood a level above we who commit too freely to our habits and idiosyncrasies. Mel will never disappear from our eyes or soul, as he is too special a person to ever perish from the earth. He remains with us, but only for we who truly loved him, in every step we shall ever take in this journey through life.

I will never lose Mel, for I am incapable of taking Mel outside my insides.

To you, my dear Mel, my colleague, pal, friend, companion. and brother -- you have all my love.