Arthur Klein

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Friend and executor

Arthur Klein was a very talented interior designer and a close friend. Shortly after my partner and I moved into our new home, Arthur volunteered to design custom furniture for three rooms with results that still look contemporary and beautiful today. In the late 1980s, when Arthur confided in us that he tested positive for HIV, we were devastated, although he explained with matter-of-fact directness that he was not at all surprised. Estranged from his parents who would not assist him unless he moved back home to Cleveland, Ohio, after having lived his adult life in Los Angeles with a brief break in San Francisco, he asked my partner and me to care for him. My partner, a physician, and I, a lawyer, were his "dream team" for assuring his care would be appropriate and his interests protected. A nice Jewish boy who had become a Hindu in the '70s, following a period of serious study at an ashram in India, Arthur's last request was that I have his ashes spread in India's holy river, the Ganges. This was easier said than done because there was no legal way to transport ashes into AIDS-phobic India. A very nice older couple (which seems funny to say since they were younger then than I am now!), a husband and wife whom Arthur knew from the ashram, agreed to take his ashes to India to fulfill Arthur's final wish. I didn't ask and didn't want to know how they smuggled the ashes into the country. They returned with beautiful photos of the disposition in the river and for a small circle of those closest to him, a few small mother-of-pearl containers of fragrant dried rose petals from the ashram ceremony commemorating Arthur's life. When creating a quilt panel that would represent Arthur and be true to his design aesthetic, it struck me to look to how he presented himself to his colleagues and clients, using his professional logo for inspiration. Thus, the panel uses the colors and type fonts Arthur selected for his stationery and cards. The Sanskrit is Arthur's mantra. Finally, hidden in Arthur's quilt panel is a sealed packet of the dried rose petals, memorializing his spirituality from the very place where he found it.