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Date: Sunday, February 26, 2017
Cemetery: Wellwood Cemetery
Jack Rachlin, 85, retired geologist and longtime volunteer at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, died peacefully at home on February 22, 2017 after a 24-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Jack Rachlin was born to Russian immigrant parents on May 18, 1931 in Brooklyn, New York. After earning a degree in geology at City College of New York, he visited a friend Washington D.C. and landed a GS-3 job with the Military Department of the U.S. Geological Survey. Rachlin became an authoritative source of geological information and assessments for the defense and intelligence community during the Cold War. He learned Russian and participated in the U.S. delegation of the 1974 SALT II negotiations in Moscow. Because of the classified nature of his work, Rachlin’s scientific contributions went largely unrecognized at the time, despite their originality and completeness. He was awarded a Citation for Meritorious Service by the Secretary of the Interior.
After his retirement Rachlin pursued his longtime interest in sculpture and volunteered for 10 years as a Research Collaborator at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. He and his wife Marjorie collected prints and paintings by Mid-twentieth century American artists, many of which are bequeathed to the above museum and the Phillips Collection. Jack and Marjorie also shared an avid interest in vegetable gardening and home cooked ethnic cuisine.
Rachlin is survived by his wife of 53 years, Marjorie Bailey Rachlin, whom he met on a bird-watching excursion; his brother Marvin Rachlin and wife Barbara of Florida; and nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will take place according to Jewish tradition at Wellwood Cemetery in Long Island, New York at the Rachlin family gravesite. A memorial service in Washington D.C. will take place later in the spring.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Capital Area Parkinson’s Foundation.
Mr. Rachlin was an inspiration. He had a sense of humor. He was smart. He was kind and patient. People appreciated him greatly. He was not arrogant or egotistical. He had humility. Not only was he very intelligent being an expert for our Government in geology esp.as regards Russia, He also had a strong artistic side. he sculpted, collected a vast array of art and donated it to the Museum of Art where he was very loved and he loved deeply working there as well. At home he had a great flair for cooking and did a lot of it. He knew how to make things with wood, repair and do mechanical and electrical work. As a caregiver I saw a man endure great burdens with the smoothest of ease, truly. He kept a harmonious sense of being and emanated that to us all. He would express concern about others and never complained about himself or others nor did he criticize, condemn or judge. He taught me to live, speak, feel and act from my heart not matter what pain may come to me. He taught me to endure no matter how hard the journey. He taught to give love and be peaceful to all. And not to forget to laugh along the way. He loved to sing songs and have the opportunity to walk around the room holding on and he being held onto with his special parkinsons belt his beautiful niece Joy bought. It gave him freedom of expression to be able to still talk, to sing, to walk. He taught me to be grateful to still be able to do these things. And how he would light up when his nephew Douglas would cheer him with his exuberance for life and often bring art related gifts and accompany him to an exhibit of art. He loved when his niece Joy would be around as she often was, living close by, bringing interesting things to do or look at or listen to. Both Douglas and Joy did tremendous work in the backgroumd to make his life operate efficiently which was very appreciated. I saw the light in eyes glimmer when he was able to listen to and sometimes speak with various family on the phone or in person. Observing a man like this endure with such an inner resilience shows how we all can do the same because he shared the God within his heart by being those qualities. Jack shared his beliefs with me and I witnessed a beautiful transformation. God Bless and protect his soul and spirit that lives on forever and grows continuously in consciousness. God Bless and protect and comfort all of his family and caregivers.
Jack was a wonderful neighbor and gave sage advice. He knew so much but you had to ask him first because he would not just tell you something. If he wanted to do something he would first learn as much as possible before doing it. Very rare today. He was solid,unassuming and very smart. Smart enough to marry Marge and make a wonderful life. He added much to this world through hard work and good deeds. He brought the good natured breeding of our native Brooklyn with him and never forgot that the lessons of growing up with many different types of people. He was a true renaissance person.
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