Regarded as the face and voice of Irish Mensa, his death casts a shadow over the society, writes Shabnam Vasisht
THE quintessential Mensan, David Schulman, who was born in 1930, filled many roles within the organisation since joining it in 1977. Over the years, he held several positions in Irish, British and International Mensa, culminating in his appointment as honorary president of Mensa International from 2000-2006. His involvement with Mensa took him to gatherings in far-flung parts of the globe, giving him a wealth of stories with which to regale his fellow members.
As publicity officer for Irish Mensa, Schulman's interviews in the media dispelled many misconceptions about the organisation. The press coverage often led to a flood of requests for home tests -- in one memorable instance, as many as 243 requests over a two-day period.
Proving that Mensa is a round-table society with no barriers between members, Schulman mixed with equal ease through the various echelons of the society -- from chairing meetings of the International Board to handing out leaflets with volunteers at educational events.
An important fixture on the calendar was the Young Scientist Show in the RDS, Dublin, where he was instrumental in securing a stand for Mensa for many years.
The master of pun, David's humour raised many a chuckle. At a party, noting the vertiginous heels worn by a guest, a firewoman, he commented dryly, "She could put out a fire on the first floor without a ladder".
He once went out to play golf and returned with a house. It transpired he had strolled into an auction, during which he scribbled his guestimate of the value on a scrap of paper and slipped it to the friend beside him. When the hammer came down, the man congratulated him as the new owner -- he had assumed Schulman wanted him to bid on his behalf.
As a volunteer in Dublin Zoo's education department, he organised Mensa's highly successful family outing to the zoo every summer. He also gave freely of his time to the Irish Heart Foundation and Library for the Blind.
Schulman was happily married to best-selling author and cookery writer, Anne Schulman, for 43 years. Her death in 2009 had a devastating effect on her devoted husband, as tellingly stated in his death notice: "... after a courageous fight against declining health and a broken heart".
David is survived by his daughter Lynda and son Paul, both Mensans.