With deepest and heartfelt sorrow, we announce that Emel Aylin Alper, age 46, passed away on April 14, 2021. May her beautiful soul and spirit live on in the many who were lucky enough to have had her touch their lives. Emel was a force of nature, whose smile could light a room, and whose passion, empathy, joy, humor, and love of adventure will be remembered.
Emel was born in Falls Church, VA on September 24, 1974 and spent her early childhood in Ankara, Turkey. Emel’s family moved to Larchmont, New York, when she was six years old. She attended Chatsworth Avenue Elementary School, Hommocks Middle School, and Mamaroneck High School. Emel excelled academically, and at an early age, discovered a passion for music. Throughout her academic years, she played the violin and flute, performed starring roles in school musicals, and sang in school choirs.
After graduating from the State University of New York in Albany, Emel obtained a Master’s Degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University. She taught for several years in Hopewell, New Jersey; Newton, Massachusetts; as well as in the state of New York. Her students and colleagues adored her fabulous sense of humor (and ready willingness to laugh at herself), her sharp intellect, and above all, a devout commitment to her students’ academic and emotional well-being.
Emel enjoyed traveling, especially to tropical islands and international beaches. She returned to Turkey frequently during her lifetime, staying at her family’s coastal villa near the Aegean Sea. It was there that Emel met her husband, Todd, a fellow teacher and musician. After returning to the US, together they performed for several years in the band “Brave New Girl” while maintaining their day jobs. After starting a family, Emel and her husband returned to Larchmont, raising their two beautiful children, Kaya (15) and Belis (11), in the house where Emel grew up, enjoying a broad network of friends in New York and beyond.
Beyond being an educator and gifted vocalist, Emel had many talents. She was an amazing chef and could feed an army a delicious and healthy meal in mere minutes. Emel also recognized the importance of personal well-being, for herself and others, finding strength and peace in yoga, massage, work-outs, and long walks and talks with friends and family. Emel reveled in celebrating those she loved, and would think up bigger and better ideas each year for annual parties she hosted. She was generous to a fault and frequently gifted friends and family for no reason other than it gave her joy to brighten someone’s day.
Above all else, Emel loved her children. They provided her with unspeakable joy. She was so proud of who they were, and deeply appreciated their unique qualities and talents. She instilled in them a sense of gratitude for life’s simple pleasures among many other life lessons.
Emel will be lovingly remembered by her husband Todd, her children Kaya and Belis, her mother Helen, her brother Omer, his wife Cindy, and their children Evan, Neya, and Isak. Emel also leaves countless grateful students, adoring friends, and a loving extended family by marriage. Of course, Emel was cherished by her father prior to his death in 2009. Arrangements for an in-person, outdoor memorial service to celebrate Emel’s life are underway and once finalized will be posted here.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Emel’s memory may be made to the Mamaroneck-Larchmont Student Aid Fund: http://www.mlsaf.org. Funds in Emel’s memory will be used to benefit those who participate in PACE, the Performing Arts Curriculum Experience, at Mamaroneck High School, Mamaroneck NY. PACE is a curricular elective program that offers students four progressive years of study in theatre, dance, and music.