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Arlene M. Korab, 78, of Westborough, former Executive Director of the Brain Injury association of Massachusetts, passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 18, 2019. She was predeceased by her parents Chester and Mary (Jaroschak) Moken. She was also predeceased by her brother, Chester Moken. Her husband of 47 years, Alfred Korab, passed away in 2007. She’s survived by her children Kevin Korab, Mitchell Korab, his fiancée Ruth Kaplan, and Bethann Smith and her husband Scott. Grandchildren, Michael Smith, Nichole Parker and her husband Joel, and Ryan Smith.
No one knew more than former Westborough resident Arlene Korab about the needs of the brain injured community. She personally lived through every emotion a family can endure when in 1980 her son Kevin was in a car accident that left him with severe trauma to his brain and, in a coma, for six months. Kevin now lives in his own home where he receives round-the-clock assistance. In the early days following her son’s accident, Mrs. Korab bonded with other families in similar circumstances. They were dismayed with the lack of resources available to individuals with traumatic brain injury. Mrs. Korab along with these family members formed the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, BIA-MA.
Arlene worked tirelessly with the BIA-MA and eventually named Executive Director, a position she held for two decades. During her tenure as executive director, Arlene played a significant role in establishing the Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP). Under her leadership, BIA-MA and four plaintiffs successfully filed a class action complaint, Hutchinson v. Patrick, charging the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide adequate community services to survivors. The following year, a settlement was reached giving the opportunity to thousands of brain injury to move from nursing homes intended for the elderly, to community housing with their peers and appropriate supports.
With Mrs. Korab’s oversight, the BIA-MA developed statewide support groups that provide survivors and their loved ones a forum for sharing information about brain injury as well as compassionate and understanding peer groups that provide an opportunity for survivors and family members to socialize and make new friends with others through recreational activities and outings. She helped create many of the programs that serve the brain injury community and spearheaded much of the legislation adopted on Beacon Hill. Under Arlene’s direction Massachusetts became the model by which all other state brain injury associations are measured.
The Korab family would like to thank Dr. Robert Klugman for his compassion and care of their family for the past 40 years. Also they would like to extend their gratitude to the staff of the Jewish Healthcare Center in Worcester for their wonderful care of Arlene during her time there.
A Celebration of Life will take place at 10 AM on Saturday, June 22, in the First United Methodist Church, 120 West Main Street, Westborough. Burial will be held privately in St. Luke’s Cemetery, Westborough.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Trustees of Boston University. In the check memo line, “Arlene Korab CTE”, Boston University School of Medicine, Office of Development 72 East Concord Street, L-219 Boston, Ma. 02118 or to the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts at 30 Lyman St. #10, Westborough, Ma. 01581
Funeral arrangements are under the care and direction of the Pickering and Son Westborough Funeral Home.