Arthur Richard Saenz, “Art”

Arthur Richard Saenz, “Art” passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 20, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia surrounded by his family.  Art was born on September 27, 1962 to Richard and Berna Saenz in Florence, Arizona.  He grew up in Huachuca City, Arizona with his two younger brothers and graduated from Tombstone High School in 1980. 

Art followed in his father’s footsteps and attended Arizona State University, where he graduated in 1984 with a degree in Computer Science.  A job as a computer programmer with the CIA took him to Washington, D.C. after college.  After working at the CIA for fifteen years, he took a job as an IT Program Specialist with the National Science Foundation where he worked until he passed away.  In total, Art dedicated 35 years of his life to public service for the federal government.   His humor and dedication made an impression on so many of the friends he made during his long government career.

In 1992, Art married Deanne Sobczak and they purchased their beautiful house on the best street in Arlington and lived there for 27 years.  Art and Deanne have two sons, Alexander and Eric.  Art was a devoted and loving father.  His sons meant everything to him and his love for them knew no bounds.     

Art was a passionate, lifelong fan of sports, especially baseball.  It was his belief that baseball was a metaphor for life and fittingly his first date with Deanne was at a Baltimore Orioles game.  An unrivaled encyclopedia of baseball facts and statistics, Art played baseball, softball and other sports for most of his life.  At one time, he played on four softball teams, coaching two of them. 

He also coached numerous youth baseball and basketball teams throughout his life.  If he wasn’t coaching, he attended every single one of the hundreds of games played by his sons and acted as assistant coach or scorekeeper.  During his years of coaching, he was a tremendous influence on the players he coached. His passion and dedication touched the lives of countless kids and their families.

Art served on the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth Baseball Board.  Until his final days, Art continued to organize games, schedule umpires, and communicate with coaches.  His passion for helping Arlington youth play baseball was inspiring and remarkable.  He was so dedicated that if an umpire wasn’t able to make it, Art would show up behind the plate himself. Nothing, not even illness could stop Art from making sure kids could play baseball.  Art rooted for the San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals and was ecstatic that the Nats made it to the World Series.

Art had a knack for befriending and meaningfully connecting with people from all walks of life.  Growing up, he was friends with all groups, from athletes to members of the calculator club that he founded.  One of his special talents was giving out nicknames that he made sure stuck, even 25 years later.   

Art’s larger-than-life personality could light up a room.  His boundless, quirky, and infectious sense of humor always delighted.  He was so good at making people laugh.  He had a one in a million gift of being able to relate to anyone no matter their background, as shown by the numerous communities that he was a part of.  Art was a genius with numbers.  He could calculate statistics and figure out problems at lightening speed in his head.  He was always learning something new, and frequently developed newfound interests in a wide array of topics. More often than not he could be spotted reading a biography or watching a documentary about history, politics, the economy, technology, film— you name it. Music was another passion of his, particularly the Beatles, Motown artists, and disco.  He loved laughing and dancing and he danced with the same intensity and passion that he brought to all the things he loved.  He was a beautiful, selfless soul who loved his family and friends dearly.  His two sons were the world to him, and he truly cherished each and every moment that he was able to spend raising them into young men. 

Art is survived by his wife of 27 years, Deanne Sobczak and by his two sons, Alexander and Eric.  Other survivors include his parents, Berna and Richard Saenz of Huachuca City, Arizona; brother Robert Saenz; brother Mario Saenz and wife Tanya; father-in-law James Sobczak; sister-in-law Sandra Beckett and husband James; brother-in-law Jimmy Sobczak and wife Jeanne; sister-in-law Christine Lyden and husband Mitchell; nephews Matthew Beckett and wife Sonya, Andrew Saenz and wife Jenna, Nicholas Sobczak, Manuel Saenz, Gabriel Saenz, and Zachary Saenz; nieces Jamie Beckett, Jacquelyne Balan and husband Dimitri, Jessica Beckett, and Allison Sobczak; great nephews Pierce Beckett and Noah Saenz; and great niece Elizabeth Beckett.  Art is also survived by so many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. 

The family will receive friends October 28 from 2 to 4 pm and 6 to 8 pm at Advent Funeral Services.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Ann Catholic Church, 5300 North 10th Street, Arlington, VA 22205 on October 29 at 11 am.  Donations can be made in Art’s name to the Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers, ruesch.georgetown.edu/gift.


18 Responses to Arthur Richard Saenz, “Art”

  1. Alan Zucker says:

    Art was a dear and beloved friend and neighbor. His enthusiasm was infectious. His passions abounded.

    My daughter is 3 weeks younger than Alex. They played together every day from age zero to when boys and girls went their separate ways in grade school. When she would get angry with me when. I would say, “who would you rather have as a father?” She would say, “Art!” I would agree that Art was a great man.

    All of us that knew Art will miss him dearly. I can hear the way he would ring out our names and nicknames whenever he would pass. Just saying “hi” to Art could brighten any day.

    We love you, my dear friend!

  2. Zipper Viloski says:

    Beautiful message of a wonderful human being. I remember Art as such a nice, friendly, fun and loveable person. Being new at Sheffield Court and much older than the crowd, he made me feel welcome to the softball team even though I couldn’t catch or throw. He also had a nickname for me based on my socks always matching my shirt. He will surely be missed.

  3. Rose Matthewson says:

    My heart is breaking for you Dee and your family. I am praying for you and your family.

  4. Robert Saenz says:

    The most beautiful soul and a amazing brother , I’m at peace he’s no longer suffering but my heart is broken , I love you brother Art .♥️

  5. Clare Anderson says:

    What a beautiful tribute to an amazing human being! Art left an impression on everyone he knew. As I told Deanne, I will always have a special place in my heart for Art, as he was indirectly responsible for my meeting my husband. In October 1991, I met John at a party at Sheffield Court, where Art lived. John and Art were friends in and out of work. I went to the party with my friend Joan, who lived at the same complex and knew Art from their softball team. The following year, we all attended Art and Deanne’s wedding. The next year, Art and Deanne attended our wedding and the photos I dug up show the love and energy this couple shared. I will share them with the family next week. With deepest sympathy, Clare

  6. Margaret Core says:

    What a wonderful tribute to reflect Art’s love of life, his intellect and his dedication to family. Our hearts go out to Deanne, the boys and all who loved him dearly. May you always feel his hug and hear his laughter. He will be missed in the Arlington community. The Core family

  7. Alison Sheahan says:

    A beautiful tribute for a beautiful soul. I honor this man who so clearly loved his wife, his sons and his own precious, joyous life.

  8. Cynthia Power says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful life. Art is an inspiration to everyone. It is devastating to have him gone from us. My heart is heavy. Prayers and thoughts to Art’s wonderful family.
    Cynthia

  9. Gloria Martinez-Romero says:

    RIP Art-to a wonderful cousin and fun loving person. I remember all the great times we had for the holiday’s at “Nanas” house. We could hardly wait for all us cousins to be together. Cousin Art you will be deeply missed by us all-there will be a deep void in our hearts and life. Thank you for the time we had with you, I know that God must have needed a special angel-thats why he took you from us so soon. You will always have a special place in our hearts. Til we can meet again cousin Art, please be at rest
    With all my love and respect to you, your cousin Gloria.

  10. Jesse Saenz garcia says:

    My sincere condolences to wife Deanna and their boys. I had the pleasure to see him and Deanna last March in their home. I will miss him and he left a lasting impression on me. My sympathy goes to my uncle Richard and tia Berna on such a tragic loss.

  11. Tony Alvarado says:

    May the most precious memories of a beautiful life bring comfort and peace

  12. Marc J Peters says:

    My sincere condolences to the entire family. Art had an expression of love for life that had no bounds, especially for family. Art was a role model, who had a unique ability to both influence and provide a positive outcome to everything he touched. Our friendship was one of a kind. Art, you are dearly missed.

  13. ty says:

    Art’s Family–no words exist to take away the pain. We are with you.

    Art’s endless and quick one-liners; smile; and his pausing to ask, more seriously, how things are going; will be missed, but also always with us. (Go Buckeyes! [sorry Art, couldn’t resist!])

    Peace.

  14. Marjorie says:

    Seeing Art’s beautiful joyful face and remembering details of his life made it feel like he was right here in the room, being funny, making friendly conversation and being a warm neighbor, as usual. His endearing good spirit will always be a part of N. Illinois street. Sorry to be away this week but my heart is there with Dee, Alex & Eric. Much love!

  15. Glenn Bowler says:

    I apologize in advance for the length of this story and for any details that might be mis-remembered.

    My son Daniel was Alex’s age and they spent many formative years playing sports with each other while Art and I watched. Art and I admired parents who could raise good athletes — fathers like Archie Manning. Archie played quarterback in the NFL, and two of his sons played in the NFL too. Both won Super Bowls, AND both were Super Bowl MVPs. Even today, Archie is frequently asked for parenting advice and has a ready answer. He says: make your child play multiple sports (don’t specialize too soon), and NEVER coach your own child’s team.

    Heeding Archie’s warning, when Alex and Daniel were ready to join a 5th Grade Arlington County Basketball team, the team parents were pleased to find that the County had randomly assigned two recent Penn State graduates who had volunteered to coach a kid’s team. This circumstance was a great opportunity for ten lucky boys and they really responded. The team was very successful as they played for Kevin Richman and the guys for 6 or 7 years. NOW, I wish I could say it was Archie’s advice that made the difference. The real story is what happened when Art and I volunteered to coach the 4rd grade basketball team.

    Arlington County youth basketball has some very strict rules to insure an enjoyable experience for all involved. Coaches are not even allowed to stand up from their chairs during the game, except to cheer a good play. Alex was our best scorer and during one game the other team decided to push Alex around as hard as they could. That strategy was working because the natural reaction of an 8-year old was to push back. Alex got upset and pushed back too much. Mistakenly, I thought it was a good time to teach Alex how to keep his cool under pressure. Those of us who knew Art can imagine how he reacted. We both violated the coach-in-seat rule, but when the referees realized I was holding Art back from attacking someone, they made an exception. That experience certified the coaching change made in 5th Grade.

    Flash forward five years and Alex and Daniel are teammates on the 14-year-old Arlington Babe Ruth All Star baseball team. Alex excelled as a pitcher. At times he was the team’s “Sean Doolittle” – a left handed relief pitcher who could pour in the strikes regardless of the pressure. Other teams feared his appearance on the mound when Arlington was ahead late in a game. That team won the Virginia State championship and beat two other State champions before bowing out in the regional round. Alex had learned how to be cool under pressure and I know how proud all the parents were of that team. None more than Art.

    Thanks for letting me share a couple of my experiences with Art. All of them confirm the devotion he had for his family. All of them reflect his passion for sports. I cherish them all. Art lived his life so fully in this respect and I am saddened to no end that he left us so soon. I can testify first-hand to how proud he was of the family he built with Deanne and the sons he raised in Alex and Eric.

    Rest in peace my fellow Sun Devil.

    Respectfully, Glenn B.

  16. Robert H says:

    I just found out about this yesterday on Facebook and I have thought about Art numerous times over the years but had never made contact with him. I knew he was working with the CIA in some capacity. But memories are about growing up with him at 13 to 18 yrs old playing baseball. Art was very passionate about playing and never complained about what position he played or how long we practice he just wanted to play. Many times I would see him on weekends at the little league field with just few guys playing. He just loved baseball and also joking, never seen a mean spirit in him. High School we went to the State playoffs my senior year and lost, I took it hard but Art was there for me to let me know that they would be next year to win. Happy I have those Great Memories of a Great Man Arthur and I see that he passed on his qualities and compassion to his children. Although I never met his Wife I am positive his Love for her is unbelievable

  17. Phil Jackson says:

    I knew Art from fourth grade on. Yes, he was a walking baseball statistical machine! He was part of our “Sandlot” bunch, playing baseball for hours at the little league field during hot summer days, until it was time to go get our uniforms on for organized baseball. He was a big part of my childhood all the way up through high school! My thoughts and prayers for his family and all of our extended family and friends as we remember a great guy!

  18. Monica Beaston says:

    So shocked to just learn that Art a kind and generous soul who was always so full of life recently passed on to the next stage of his journey. Of course one never knows how long an inning may last, but we do know this one ended much too soon for the many who loved this special man. Our thoughts especially are with his wonderful family that he loved so much. He will be missed by many. Monica, Jessica and Lee

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