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Faculty widow Mildred Mendelowitz dies at 87

STANFORD -- Mildred Mendelowitz, who delighted in provoking dinner-time debates among artists, physicists, political scientists and other scholars, died Thursday, Dec. 8, at her campus home of a brain tumor. She was 87.

Born in New York City in 1907, she attended Columbia University before marrying Daniel Mendelowitz and moving West in 1935. Her late husband was a well-known painter and Stanford art professor from 1934 until his retirement in 1969. He died in 1980.

A superb cook, Mildred Mendelowitz created the modern equivalent of a 19th-century intellectual salon. Participants included three Nobel laureates and their wives - Felix and Laura Bloch, Robert and Nancy Hofstadter, and Henry and Mary Taube.

“Any gathering at their Stanford home was a lively mixture of teachers, students, painters, writers, scientists, musicians and family, all in the midst of an extraordinary collection of art from around the world,” recalled Maxwell Arnold, a Portola Valley writer.

“Her passions were fierce and deep, her honesty blunt, her enjoyment of the absurd infectious,” Arnold said.

As a widow, Mendelowitz delighted in hosting a broad spectrum of people across generations, said Inge Koenig, a Palo Alto friend.

Anne Larlarb, a young Stanford artist who lived with Mendelowitz last summer, said, “Her favorite room in the house was the kitchen.”

Besides her sister, Selma Davis, from Goldens Bridge, N.Y., Mendelowitz is survived by her son, Louis, of Palo Alto.

No services are planned. Memorial contributions may be made to the Daniel Mendelowitz Fund, Office of Development, 301 Encina Hall, Stanford, CA 94305. The fund supports young artists.



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