Arturo Biblarz passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by love, just shy of his 86th
birthday, from complications from Parkinson’s Disease.
Arturo’s life was forever shaped by the Jewish Holocaust. Facing the rise of anti-Semitism in the1930s, his parents fled Poland for Latin America, eventually settling in Bogota, Columbia, wherehe was born. Before moving to the United States and enrolling at UCLA at age 16, Arturo also lived in Panama City, Panama, and Caracas, Venezuela. At UCLA, he earned his B.A. (1955), M.A. (1960) and Ph.D. (1968) in Sociology. He wrote his dissertation on comparative revolutions, a topic which interested him throughout his life. He was a lifelong political activist, protesting the Vietnam War in the 1970 Chicano Moratorium in Los Angeles, and leading student organizing efforts during the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1971, Arturo met the love of his life, Dolores. They fell in love immediately and married soon after. Arturo loved Dolores with his whole being, and the two were partners in love, life, and parenthood. They were tied by their shared love of social psychology, spirituality, and trips to Cannon Beach. Arturo and his family settled in Tacoma, Washington after bouncing around
California, and he taught for twenty-five years in the Sociology department at Pacific Lutheran University.
He was an active community member, volunteering with the Hispanic Affairs Commission of Washington, Community Health Care, and Central Latino. He was also selected as a fellow with the American Leadership Forum, a community he remained involved with over the years. Arturo was active in al-Alon programs in Tacoma; he was a deep believer in the power of twelve-step programs to heal those suffering from various afflictions and to provide direction when in doubt. He was a spiritual man, and spent many hours interrogating the meaning and existence of God, a topic he loved to discuss with friends and family. Upon his retirement, he completed a year-long research project on “communities of love,” focused on Bellarmine Preparatory School. The project allowed him to explore his interests in religion and community care, and was so meaningful to him.
Above all, though, Arturo was a loving, generous, and committed father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He loved nothing more than walking at Point Defiance with one of his grandchildren, or going on one-on-one coffee dates to hear about their lives, families, and education. Both his son and his grandson followed in his footsteps and pursued Ph.D.s in Sociology, and many other family members pursued the field as undergraduates. He and Dolores loved taking the Coast Starlight Amtrak from Tacoma to Los Angeles to visit their grandchildren, and taking their local grandchildren on car trips to California. He edited academic papers and college essays for every member of the family, even through his last years. He taught his family to listen carefully to those you love, to be non-judgmental and accepting of all choices, to be honest about your fears and insecurities, to ask questions and validate feelings, and to fight the good fight, even when victory feels far off. He will be so missed.
Arturo loved the New York Times crossword puzzle, classical music (especially Mozart), puns, and the Mariners. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Dolores, brother, Oscar, sister, Dora, children, Debbie and husband Dave, Tim and wife Chris, and Joanie and husband Steve, adoring grandchildren, Arthur (who is named after his grandfather) and wife Merelin, Alex and husband Oliver, Jimmy, Veronica, Kevin and wife Lauren, and Ryan, great-grandchildren, Timmy, Bela,
Lyla, and Lola, as well as nieces, nephews, and their children.
The family would like to thank the home health aides who made his last days more comfortable.