Marilyn Allen Mendelson

by | Apr 4, 2024 | Obituaries

NORFOLK – Marilyn Allen Mendelson, 86, loving mother and grandmother, passed away peacefully on March 12 at home.

She was born in 1937 in Brooklyn, New York to Sarah and Benjamin Allen, who emigrated from Poland to the United States. Marilyn earned a BS in art education, then an MA in Fine Art, and taught art for 12 years. She earned a PhD in educational psychology from Michigan State University and subsequently served on the faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina. In 1979, she joined the faculty at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where she was an associate professor, served as director of evaluation, taught statistics, and published in peer-reviewed journals. She also served as director of communication for a pharmaceutical care management company.

Marilyn was married to her husband, Gerry, for 54 years. They were perfect for each other and raised two sons together. Their life together was full of adventure. Marilyn and Gerry camped across America, visiting all but four states. Over the course of their married life, they lived in seven states, including Hawaii. In 2001, they traveled by motor home to and through Alaska, Gerry clocking 12,000 miles and Marilyn putting in 6,000.

Marilyn was happiest sharing time with her family. Marilyn is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Moss and Julie Mendelson; son and daughter-in-law, Judd and Sara Mendelson; and grandchildren Rachel McGowan (Bill), Anna Mendelson, and Noah Mendelson. She was also especially close to her niece, Isabel Steinfeld (Alan) and Isabel’s family, and her husband’s cousin, Lois Pepkin. She spent time with her grandchildren in creative play and always encouraged original and artistic thinking. Crafts and art projects were often part of family get-togethers. Marilyn was thrilled to see Rachel, her first grandchild, marry Bill last May. Marilyn was able to participate in all the wedding festivities, which had been one of her fondest wishes.

After retiring, Marilyn returned to art through quilting. She belonged to two sewing guilds and the philanthropic quilters of Ohef Sholom Temple in Ghent. Marilyn also achieved Silver Life Master status in the American Contract Bridge League.

Marilyn and Gerry also had many beloved pets, including their Siamese cats and their only dog, Kai, who remained a puppy for all of his 11 years. Their last cat, Max, spent hours on the RV dashboard observing the passing countryside. In her later years, Marilyn enjoyed the antics of her grand-dogs, especially Paxton.

Marilyn valued and maintained many close friendships throughout her life. She will be remembered and deeply missed by all who knew her and loved her. She was grateful for the staff and friends made at Harbor’s Edge, Norfolk, where she participated on committees and in craft, fitness, and writing classes.

Funeral services were held at the graveside at Olive Branch Cemetery in Portsmouth, followed by a memorial reception at the home of Judd and Sara Mendelson in Chesapeake. The family requests donations be made in Marilyn’s memory to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, or a charity of one’s choosing.