Arlene Horowitz possessed grace and a sense of humor that made her “the person people all came to,” her daughter said.

All that despite facing type 1 diabetes for most of her life, and later bouts with heart and lung disease.

“She had these challenges that were earth-shattering for most, and she still put one foot in front of the other every day and just did her thing, and smiled and laughed and took care of us throughout all of it,” said Julie Horowitz-Jackson. “I’m not sure how, and none of us are aware of where her reserves of strength came from. But she just did it.

“Humor is how she really got through it. She was so sarcastic and so funny. She was everybody’s mom. I think all of that gave her the strength that she needed to face every day.”

Mrs. Horowitz, 78, of Wynnewood, died Sunday, May 3, from complications of the coronavirus.

Growing up, Mrs. Horowitz would act as if she were part of the catering staff at her parents’ parties, many of which included influential guests such as former Pennsylvania Gov. Milton Shapp, a friend of her father, Ralph Fratkin. She would become a warm host later on, and regularly attended galas for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Mrs. Horowitz (center in gray sweater) laughs with friends at Camp Eagle Point in the summer of 1952.
Courtesy of the Horowitz Family
Mrs. Horowitz (center in gray sweater) laughs with friends at Camp Eagle Point in the summer of 1952.

“People were welcomed into the fold of the family so easily and so quickly,” her daughter said. “Anyone was welcomed at the table. My mom faced all sorts of very interesting people throughout her life, and I think they all took an interest in her.”

Mrs. Horowitz graduated from Overbrook High School and received a degree in elementary education from Pennsylvania State University. She was a substitute teacher in the Haverford School District, created an “Art Goes to School” program for elementary school-age children, and was an administrator for computer training in Haverford Township.

She later worked as an administrator at the company where her husband, Michael, was a medical engineer.

Mrs. Horowitz and husband Michael at their engagement party 1961.
Courtesy of the Horowitz Family
Mrs. Horowitz and husband Michael at their engagement party 1961.

“That’s where she really became everybody’s mother for the entire company,” her daughter said. “All the women that worked there would come with their problems and sit at her desk.”

Mrs. Horowitz was also interested in archery, birds, and butterflies, and she was an animal lover her entire life.

In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Horowitz is survived by son David, a sister, and two brothers.

— Joe Juliano, jjuliano@inquirer.com