Reminiscing  on Marcello Truzzi

Sidney Gendin

    I met Marcello very shortly after he arrived at Eastern Michigan University (E.M.U.).  I arrived there four years earlier.  We had many things in common - principally interests in the paranormal, general philosophy of science, and opera.  When I would visit him at his homes, first in Ann Arbor and later in Grass lake, he would pull out tenor arias, play them at unspeakably loud volume and lecture on the fine details of the differences between tenors singing the same arias.  His love for the music was such that it would defy any person's resistance not to be infected with it.

    We never saw eye-to-eye on paranormal issues or philosophy of science but I had no colleague in my own department (philosophy) who provided me with nearly so much intellectual stimulation and gratification.  He was truly among the best and brightest E.M.U. ever had.   I would taunt him for his views, and he knew it, but he took my jabs good naturedly and always came back for more.

    His eagerness for discussion often got the better of him.  At least twice weekly for over 20 years he would race into my office, interrupt whatever was going on between another colleague and me and plunge right in, oblivious of the effect it might produce.   Sometimes I would restrain him - "Not now, Marcello" - and sometimes I wouldn't because I knew his company would almost always be better than what I had.

    Whenever I saw a magician on TV I would report to Marcello and ask for his comments.  Always he would inform me the tricks were well known in the magic community and the performer's technique was, at best, decent.    He loved to undo my naive appreciation.  He also took pleasure in one-upping me as he always did when it came to jokes.  I never managed to tell him a joke in all the years we were friends that he didn't already know.   And the truth of the matter is that he really did know them.  He, himself, was a master at joke telling and kept me in stitches.

    Several persons told me that Marcello was wrapped up in himself because of his propensity to put his own agenda ahead of others.   This was a superficial criticism of a minor flaw.   Once, while we were chatting, a secretary walked in to tell him that his wife, Pat, had had an accident at home and his face went ashen.  He rushed out of my office into the elevator in order to get to his beloved wife.  He had no time for goodbyes to anyone or to gather his things.  This was the true Marcello.

    Just a few weeks before Marcello died, I visited with him at the Huron Parkway home he and Pat had recently taken to facilitate the trips he needed to make regularly for his treatments.  Somehow we got around to the subject of death and Marcello told me that his life had been very good and he used the expression, "I've had a good run."   He just wouldn't be morose or self-pitying and I could not help but envy his remarkable courage.

    Marcello  graced our corridors and our lives and I will miss him terribly.

 Sidney Gendin is Professor Emeritus, Philosophy, Eastern Michigan University