Murphy Funeral Homes

4510 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA


Emily Ann Landis Sopensky

December 10, 1948September 25, 2019

Emily A Sopensky, 70, of Arlington, Virginia, died on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, on December 10, 1948, she was the daughter of the late Paul and Emily Sopensky.

Emily grew up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Mechanicsburg High School in 1966. She received her B.A. in Business Administration from Lycoming College and her M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School.

Emily started her career working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a budget analyst. She moved on to the federal government, working several years in Washington, D.C. She eventually landed in Austin, Texas and found her niche—communicating technologies in emerging fields for companies such as Tandy and Texas Instruments. As a business communications consultant, she had the opportunity to travel nationally and internationally for IEEE (Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers). In her various roles within IEEE spanning decades, she organized and developed seminars and frequently specialized in RFID, Radio Frequency Identification. Several of her achievements within this organization include: 2008 IEEE-USA Professional Achievement for Individuals Award, 2009 IEEE New Technology Directions Committee on RFID Award, and being inducted into the IEEE TAB Hall of Honor.

It was also through IEEE that she ultimately returned to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. After meeting her soulmate and fellow life-adventurer Judah Best, Emily made the move permanent. Their constant companionship and shared interests in art and travel were evidence of their endearing relationship.

No matter what part of the world where she happened to be, Emily’s heart and soul resided in the Southwest, particularly Santa Fe, New Mexico. She often visited Ghost Ranch to re-center herself amongst the red hills and mesas. She drew limitless inspiration from the Santa Fe art community and the vast landscape that she loved. It was her combined love of writing and the sanctuary she found in the Southwest region that led to her proudest professional accomplishment, a published book, co-written with Scott Angus, titled Snake Medicine: Sacred Earth Sites - Seeing the Unseen Vol.1.

When she wasn’t dedicating herself to IEEE projects or finding solace in Santa Fe, Emily’s greatest lifelong passion was horseback riding. She loved and cherished her horse, Topper, visiting him even when her illness prevented her from riding.

An individualist, Emily set high personal goals for herself and her tenacity was inspiring. Emily’s own published words aptly describe herself best:

Heights define her quests. Whether it’s hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa or Kinabalu in Southeast Asia or flying the Vomit Comet in Houston, she finds the perspective awesome and the question predictable: Tell me again what possessed me to do this? Her answer is always: Why not?

In addition to her partner, Judah Best, Arlington VA, her sister, Tatiana Royer of Wernersville PA and her brother John Sopensky, of Mechanicsburg PA., survive her. Emily has 2 nieces, Kiersten Rippley and Danielle Stirling and one nephew, Austin Royer, along with grandnieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions can be made either to Emily’s alma mater, Lycoming College, Office of College Advancement, 700 College Place, Box 165, Williamsport PA 17701, or to Days End Farm Horse Rescue, P.O. Box 309, Lisbon, Maryland 21765


  • Memorial Service Saturday, October 12, 2019
  • Reception Saturday, October 12, 2019


Emily Ann Landis Sopensky

have a memory or condolence to add?

Deb Cooper

October 9, 2019

Emily left lasting memories for everyone she touched. She was unique in many ways, and indefatigable. She will be dearly missed and remembered by many. IEEEUSA.org has a tribute to her at their website that gives a glimpse of her contributions. Emily and Judd together were fabulous as hosts, dinner companions and for great and enlightening conversations.

Lesley Larson

October 9, 2019

I first met Emily in November of 2018. She had wanted to support her alma mater, Lycoming College by creating a stipend that would support student research in STEM fields and conference travel. She thought it was so important for undergraduate students to present technical papers culminating their research.

When we met, I immediately bonded with her. As I learned about all that she accomplished, I came to admire her strength and grit. She recalled her memories of attending Lycoming College and living in Old Main. She was looking forward to contacting her suite mates and attending the Class of 1970's reunion, which will be held in May of 2020.

In honor of Emily and her classes upcoming reunion, I wanted to share a photo that she sent to the College in December of 1991 when she went skydiving with Jacquie Well '69 and Tom Well '69 in Austin, Texas. In her letter, she said it was something "that took her breath away" and that "it's a wonderful feeling to actually drop away from the plane. Weren't we all supposed to fly in a pre-life somehwere?"

Dearest Emily, you are now flying again. My sincere condolences to your family and close friends. I am honored to have known you for a brief time of your life, though the impact will be lifelong.


Lesley Larson '00
Lycoming College