Arna Therese Friend

March 27, 1984 - September 29, 2023
Arna Therese Friend

Memorial Gifts & Donations

Arna Friend passed away unexpectedly at her home in Wilmington, NC on September 29, 2023.

She was born and raised in Ithaca, NY where she still has numerous friends and family. Many will remember Arna as a talented ballerina or as a fabulous chef. Others knew her as a brilliant mathematician.

She received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2012 followed by a M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2014, both from Binghamton University. After graduation she became an expert in the field of synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

Arna is survived by her partner Sean Williams, her fur babies Mishka, Mouse, and Avenger, her mother Laura Boswell Thornton (Tom Thornton), her father Paul Friend, and her siblings Lars Friend (Kate Friend), Peter Friend, and Nadia Friend. Uncles and aunts: Louise Friend (Zach Miller), Bill Friend (Sabrina Friend), Andrea Boswell, Jim Boswell (Lorin Boswell), cousins Ethan, Ezra, and Kate, Cameron and Julian, Tara, Joseph and Samantha, Tom and John.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code or to the SPCA of Tompkins County, where Arna met her beloved dog Bandit.

A celebration of life will be held for Arna at a later date in Ithaca, NY.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Wilmington Funeral & Cremation. Please leave condolences for the family on her Tribute Wall at

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  • October 10, 2023
    Slaggy Forever says:
    I am grateful for the years I was able to stand side by side with Arna in the kitchen. She is the definition of a badass and will be sorely missed by everyone who has ever had the opportunity to see her smile or make her laugh.

  • October 10, 2023
    Ann Staiger says:
    I am so saddened to read this news about Arna. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

  • October 10, 2023
    Jake Nash says:
    The Arna I remember would have made fun of me for getting maudlin, so I won't. She got irritated with me if I started telling everyone how talented and exceptional she was. So, I won't. But the world is diminished by not having her in it. I can't get this line from Hemingway out of my head, since she made me read it: “If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” I'll miss every day she's not here with us

  • October 09, 2023
    Phoebe Aceto says:
    Arna was so special, brilliant, fun, funny, strong, bright, caring, creative and much more. I am so very sorry she is no longer here with us, I am very grateful for our years of friendship. Halloween was always her favorite, I’ll be missing her. This is so hard, my condolences to the whole family, sending lots of love. Rest in peace Arna

  • October 08, 2023
    Margo Yntema says:
    Lovely Arna! Sending your mum, Laura, a big warm hug!