Karl Muszel Tribute

Another Sad Farewell – Karl Muszel – Volunteer, Member, Donor and Friend

Karl Muszel- Volunteer, Member, Donor and Friend

By now everyone is likely aware of the passing of a very special person, Karl Muszel, who passed away last week due to the Corona Virus leaving behind many broken hearts and flowing tears.

Here at the historic Poppenhusen Institute we were blessed that almost twenty years ago, Karl chose to join our Poppenhusen Family lending his helping hands and heart on a multitude of projects over the years.

He assisted at the summer concerts each year selling hot dogs and other treats and sold 50/50 raffle tickets for the annual Oktoberfest. And boy was he a pro at doing that task.

Karl Muszel- Volunteer, Member, Donor and Friend

When Eva Hrastnig-Mieras , who previously did that job,  moved to Ohio we said, “what will we do now?” But Karl stepped right up to the plate and took over. Even though he had never sold raffle tickets before and really didn’t enjoy the job- he soon became known as the King of the 50/50 because of the amount of tickets he sold each year No one could resist (or escape) Karl regarding purchasing tickets.

He also enjoyed helping at the Haunted House, the annual Cross- Cultural performance at Mac Neil Park and the Lunar New Year celebration to name a few. And when he wasn’t assisting as a volunteer, Karl and his lovely wife Barbara, attended most of the cultural and educational events offered here. (Barbara also volunteered at many of those events). 

And it was a joy to watch Barbara and Karl kicking up their heels at the summer concerts. They really enjoyed twisting and turning – rocking and a rolling – to the various musical performances held here in the tree- shaded historic garden.

 Karl believed deeply in diversity and was pleased that Poppenhusen Institute’s programs and performances reflected his beliefs. He enjoyed and appreciated people of all races and faiths.

One of the many traits that I truly admired about Karl was the fact that he tried his best never to judge anyone. He always said that if anyone needed fixing it was, he himself.  But he did change many lives over the decades due to the support, genuine concern and guidance that he offered to anyone who needed it. 

Each week Karl attended a program here at Poppenhusen Institute but would first stop in my office to share words of encouragement since he knew that I was often under intense stress trying to raise the necessary funds to operate this very large NYC landmark. Those few moments truly made a difference and shifted my thinking to the positive. And those of you who knew Karl well- will remember that he always said that our biggest problem in life was “stinking thinking”

And Karl was game for anything that might put a smile on someone else’s face. He did just that when Eva, Karl and I visited a group home in College Point several times a year loaded down with dinner to share with the clients and staff. He enjoyed those visits in which we sang together and played various guessing games. Karl was always humbled by the experience stating that he received much more than he gave. I think we all felt that same way.

Karl also took time out to join us when we visited the College Point Nursing Homes, St. Albans Veterans hospital and even the VA hospital out in Centerport Long Island. Any opportunity to share some human kindness and cheer, Karl wanted to be there.

I could go on forever about the ways in which our dear friend Karl made a difference here (and everywhere he went) – but will just say that he was loved by many and will be missed by all. His special gifts, including possessing a vibrant joy for living, were numerous and his impact far reaching.

 The Poppenhusen staff, fellow volunteers and Board members will miss him dearly. I hope that he knew just how much he meant to us and the lasting difference that he made. 

The hallways of the Institute will feel very empty without you Karl. You were one of a kind and I’m so very glad you were part of my life and the Poppenhusen Team

Susan K. Brustmann,

Executive Director

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