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January 15, 2008

Leah Chodorow, longtime campus resident and community activist, dies at 98

Leah Turitz Chodorow, who helped to found the Stanford Village Nursery School (now the Bing Nursery School) and served as its first parents board president, died Dec. 2, 2007, at her campus home. She was 98.

Born in 1909 in New York City, Chodorow earned a bachelor's degree from Radcliffe College in 1930 and a master's degree in social work from Smith College in 1937. She was married to Marvin Chodorow, a professor emeritus of applied physics and of electrical engineering at Stanford, who died in 2005. The Chodorows came to Stanford in 1947.

"Leah was well known among a large circle of Stanford families as someone who from the moment of their first arrival and throughout their life at Stanford brought together people from different departments," said Nancy J. Chodorow, a daughter who lives in Cambridge, Mass. "She introduced them to colleagues and friends and was felt by many as the key person who kept social life going and organized everything."

In addition to serving on the nursery school parents board, Leah Chodorow was a board member and program chairwoman of the Palo Alto Youth Concert Series in the 1950s. She was a founder of the Peninsula Children's Center, initially a school for children with autism (now expanded into Achievekids of Palo Alto and San Jose), where she served as chairwoman of the board for 10 years, helping to raise funds and to identify and hire the first professional directors of the school. She also served as a community board member and fundraiser for the Center for Research on Women at Stanford, now the Clayman Institute for Gender Research.

She studied French and enjoyed skiing, hiking and playing tennis and badminton. She was a sports enthusiast who regularly attended Stanford football and basketball games. She also enjoyed traveling and working in her garden.

In addition to daughter Nancy Chodorow, she is survived by a second daughter, Joan E. Chodorow of Venice, Calif.; a sister, Sonya Schopick of Bridgeport, Conn.; and two grandchildren, Rachel and Gabriel Chodorow-Reich of Berkeley. A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Leah T. Chodorow Scholarship Fund, Eastside College Preparatory School, 1041 Myrtle St., East Palo Alto, CA 94303.



John Sanford, Stanford News Service: (650) 736-2151,


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