Paul Soskind, 68

Paul Soskind PPTCWe are saddened to share the news of the passing of Paul Soskind, one of PPTC's original members. Paul passed away peacefully the morning of April 2 at Calvary Hospital.

In January, after entering the hospital, Paul dictated a eulogy to Tom Meany. The eulogy follows.

Paul was born on October 3, 1944 at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital to Emile and Muriel Soskind. He grew up in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn in St. Finbar’s parish. His father, Emile, and mother, Muriel, were “conversos” - Jews who converted to Roman Catholicism. They came from the Seville area of southern Spain. His father was an expert and well respected Renovator. His mother was a homemaker. There were no other children in the family.

He attended P.S. 128 elementary school. Went to Lincoln and later Lafayette High School where he ran track and field, was on the gymnastics team and played soccer. Later, he developed a great love and interest for poetry.

In 1968, he graduated from CCNY with his Bachelor’s Degree, with a major in Classical Literature. He had a great love and a strong interest in medieval music, literature, photography, frescos and oil painting. As a result of his wonderful talents, he painted several artworks which were prominently displayed in his home as he invited friends and families for Thanksgiving Dinners for over 20-plus years.

After college, he entered an intensive teacher-training program and became a full time teacher where he taught English in several elementary schools in the Bushwick and Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. He retired at the young and handsome age of 51.

In 1966 he met Harry Murphy, an accomplished runner, joined the Prospect Park Track Club in 1970 and honed his skills as a distance and ultra runner. He completed 104 marathons, and won numerous medals. His fastest was in Yonkers, which he completed in a time of 2 hours and 41 minutes. He liked the 50K distances and longer best. He switched over to race walking in 2004 to avoid serious injury. His longest distance as a race walker was completing 500 miles plus in a six-day race. He said, running taught him persistence and patience.

Paul believed in love and was determined to not stay down for the count. So, he tried and tried and was married three times and divorced three times and I suppose if he was alive today, he would try again. He had no children.

He continued his interests in painting on silkscreen tee shirts and painting seascapes. His proudest work was painting several Stations of the Cross. He saw a strong relation between completing a good race and completing a good painting. Both provided a real sense of joy, accomplishment and satisfaction to Paul.

He loved taking photographs of churches, old architectural buildings, sceneries, and anything that captured his heart all over New York.

He loved and cherished his parents for giving him the time and space to grow and develop on his own without any pressure.

He had high praises for his first grade teacher, Ms. Miralli for being friendly, for taking a keen interest in him and for inspiring him to teach.

For Bobby Acevedo, his high school classmate and track team mate who inspired him to have a strong sense of discipline in doing things the right way.

For Harry Murphy, his good friend & mentor who also helped him to perfect his drawing skills.

So, in the words of Paul Soskind:

"As I enter the sunset of my life, and from the depths of my heart, I would like to thank all my friends from the Prospect Park Track Club; all of my friends who were teachers with me, all of my past students, my caregivers, my friends who are here today to celebrate my life and all those who touched my life in many ways.

I especially wish to thank all of my friends and colleagues who came to my rescue, in the time of my need and in a short space of time cleaned up my entire life, my act, my apartment, and all the legal and financial issues which come from living and dying NYC.

May your Lives be Richly Blessed.

Love Always