Remembering Arnie Wishnick

Left to right: Rick Caruso, Janice Crystal,, Billy Crystal ,Arnie Wishnick, Jackie Maduff (Arnie’s wife). Photo: Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce.

Palisades pays respect to beloved community leader 

By Keldine Hull 

Arnie Wishnick was an integral part of Pacific Palisades community for over 35 years. He served as Executive Director of the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce from 1993 to 2018. He was a recipient of the Mort Farberow Award and Pride of the Palisades Award as well as 1984’s Pacific Palisades Lions Club Citizen of the Year. He also served on the Teen Contest Committee and Village Green Committee for over 30 years. He dedicated his life to the Palisades community and the people who lived there. Arnie Wishnick passed away on April 27 leaving behind a legacy of service to his community and a genuine compassion for the people who live there. 

Susan Payne, Chair Emeritus of the Chamber of Commerce, worked with Wishnick for several years. “Arnie was a beloved member of the community, and he was incredibly pleasant to work with. He was the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce for 25 years. On top of that, he was very active in the Palisades Americanism Parade Association (PAPA) and the Optimist Club. He always got a celebrity to be an honorary mayor. That was one of his jobs also. He spent his time doing lots of good deeds. He was a very active member of the Jewish synagogue in the Palisades. He was a beloved person in the Palisades. He genuinely was a very, very nice man to everybody.”

Wishnick’s kindness and generosity extended beyond his professional settings. Payne continued, “Arnie and his wife invited me to their house in Beverlywood to hear a concert pianist. She was a friend of theirs, and she kept her piano in their house. She was about to open at Carnegie Hall, and she ran through her whole program in the house. I think there were five or six people there. It was unbelievable to be in somebody’s living room and hear a concert pianist play. It was really nice that I got invited to that.”

Adam Glazer, former President of the Chamber of Commerce, was a close friend of Wishnick’s. “Arnie was one of kind. There will never be another person like him again. He didn’t have a negative bone in his body. Everything was positive. He was one of the most optimistic people that you could ever meet. I had the privilege of being very close to him for the last ten years in part just from being a past chamber president and then also from developing a great friendship with him. He became like family to me. Being from the East Coast, all my family is there. He became my West Coast family.”

Glazer added, “He really was Mr. Palisades. He lived and breathed Palisades. He cared so much about the town. He would do anything for anyone and anything involving our town. That’s what made him so special; he was selfless. I’ve always felt he sacrificed himself for the town in so many different ways. He loved the town so much, and this is where he wanted to be.”

On May 1, nearly 500 people gathered at Kehillat Israel to celebrate the life of Arnie Wishnick. At Glazer’s request, several businesses throughout the Palisades lowered their flags to half-mast to show their respect for such a well- respected part of the community. Glazer continued, “Fire Station 59, YMCA, Village Green, Pali High, Starbucks and Bank of America on Sunset and the Palisades Library all lowered their flags to honor Arnie and all he did for the community. It was beautiful, and everyone loved it. It was something very special to see the town show their love for somebody who loved the town so much.”

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