The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday January 20th

Memorial Honors Professor's Legacy

Friends and family members filled the auditorium to honor Anne-Linda Furstenberg, 61, who died Jan. 23 from complications related to carcinoid cancer.

Furstenberg was diagnosed with cancer 13 years ago, a few years after joining the UNC faculty in 1986. She continued to research the mental and physical health of older adults and to teach others about the aging process.

In 1999, Furstenberg served as the first chairwoman of UNC's doctoral program in social work, a program she played a crucial role in establishing.

But the overriding theme conveyed by people who spoke at Saturday's memorial was Furstenberg's way with people in both her personal and professional life.

"Even in her work, relationships were at the heart of Anne-Linda," said colleague Maeda Galinksy, a professor at the school. "Her love for people was evident in every piece of scholarship she undertook."

Members of Furstenberg's family attended the ceremony, as well as relatives from her first marriage and the family of her boyfriend, Barry Popkin.

"There are very few people who have three families who care about them," said Carla Cohen, Furstenberg's sister-in-law by her first marriage.

Matt Popkin, Barry Popkin's son, said that having two mothers has been an unparalleled experience. He said that Furstenberg always treated him as her own son, from the first time she greeted him with a giant hug.

The memorial service also stressed Furstenberg's passion for the flute, with four musical interludes performed by Furstenberg's friend and flute teacher, Helen Spielman. A picture of Furstenberg playing the flute, taken last Thanksgiving, remained on the auditorium screen throughout the service.

Speakers said Furstenberg showed them how to live and showed them how to handle illness.

Furstenberg's son Ben said that in the more than 10 years after his mother's diagnosis, the two often talked about their fears and how Furstenberg coped with the loss of her own parents. He said his mother taught him how to retain a living memory of loved ones.

Barry Popkin joked that even Saturday's memorial service was the product of Furstenberg's meticulous planning. Although Furstenberg teased that she couldn't leave something so important in his hands, he said he knows it was just one of her countless efforts to maker her death easier on others.

"I'm sure she's still trying to take care of us."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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