PCOA Says Goodbye to Its Founder
Marian Lupu, the founding director of the Pima Council on Aging in Tucson in 1967, who served in that capacity for over 40 years, passed away surrounded by her children at home in Tucson on Sunday, August 14.
Friends and colleagues are sharing thoughts about Marian’s remarkable legacy of achievement and fierce advocacy for older adults that spanned generations.
Lupu led decades of important achievements at PCOA for the health, safety and well-being of older adults. Among them: the first case management system to coordinate in–home supportive services for older adults, creation of the Pima County Ombudsman Program, development of the first home repair program; provision of respite services for family caregivers; development of the Medicare Insurance Assistance Program, and more.
Local news coverage includes a front page profile in the Arizona Daily Star about her many accomplishments over a lifespan of 91 years, and local TV affiliate news reports.
“Marian helped train the first generation of Area Agency on Aging (AAA) directors, setting a high bar for excellence and commitment to those crucial, early years,” said n4a CEo Sandy Markwood in a special n4a e-mail announcement that went out on August 16, 2016.
Mayor of Tucson Jonathan Rothschild wrote: “I had the privilege of knowing Marian Lupu for most of my life. As a young woman, she set out to help elders, founding the Pima Council on Aging in 1967. After retiring in her 80’s, she continued to help at-risk youth as president of Dancing in the Streets. Marian’s optimism and powers of persuasion even got me to learn a few dance steps so I could join these young performers in their annual performance of The Nutcracker. I will remember Marian’s smile, her warm encouragement, and her persistence. I don’t think I ever heard her say an unkind word about anyone. My condolences to her family and her many friends.”
U.S. Representative Martha McSally released a statement on Aug. 15 about the passing of Marian Lupu: “Marian Lupu was an incredible example of how one person can make a dramatic difference in the lives of countless others. Her work over many decades, first as the founder and then director of the Pima Council on Aging, has improved the lives of Southern Arizona’s aging population in immeasurable ways. Thousands of older adults today have access to meals, transportation, and other assistance thanks to her tireless efforts.”
Former Congressman Ron Barber said: “We had a great partnership advocating for our respective clients. I am just glad she wasn’t an adversary. She was tough, well informed, articulate and relentless in her advocacy. Every elected official knew Marian and understood that she was the go to person for all matters related to the issues and services needed to help seniors enjoy the most productive and full lives possible. She will be sorely missed by a very grateful community. We say as one, Rest in Peace, Marian. You have left our world so much better than you found it.
PCOA President & CEO W. Mark Clark said Marian was at the forefront of the movement to strengthen support for older adults in the mid-1960s, and mobilized community leaders and experts to establish the nonprofit organization in Tucson, among the very first AAAs in the country.