Florence Gaylin

South Kingstown, RI

Gaylin, Florence of Wakefield RI (formerly of Cambridge, Belmont, and Newton MA) died Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at the age of 99 at Brookdale South Bay after suffering a stroke. A daughter of the late Carl and Becky (Primak) Kamowitz, both immigrants from Russia, she grew up in Far Rockaway, NY, where she gained a lifelong love of the ocean. Florence married Marcus Gaylin in 1948 and lived for over 20 years in New Milford, NJ, where she raised two children. While working part-time in the family business, she also learned silver smithing and jewelry making as a member of the Craft Students League in New York City.

In mid-life she went back to school, earning degrees in English at Englewood Cliffs College (AA), St. Thomas Aquinas College (BA), and Montclair State University (Master’s Degree with a thesis titled “The Literatus and Personalism”). In 1976, she followed her children to the Boston area to start a new life. A stickler for proper grammar, spelling, and usage, she soon got a job at Harvard University in the Office of the President as chief editor, working there for 19 years and editing the speeches, articles, annual reports, and correspondence of Presidents Bok and Rudenstine. Florence also served as a volunteer interpreter for the Museum of Science in Boston and famously portrayed an ancient Egyptian for the museum’s “Ramses the Great” exhibition. Following her retirement from Harvard, she edited a number of scholarly publications, including a textbook series on climate change published by UC Berkeley, for which she received author credit. In her last decades she lived in Rhode Island, gracing Newport, Wickford, and Brightview Commons in Wakefield, where she had room to display her 400-piece collection of owl figurines and learned to play an excellent game of pool.

Florence is survived by her children David Gaylin and his wife, Karen, of Concord, MA and Miriam Ladin and her husband, Marc, of West Kingston, RI; her grandson Joshua Gyllinsky (who knew her as “Grandma Owl”); step-grandchildren Erica Connolly, David Ladin and Zachary Ladin; and seven great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents and her sister Ann Willen.

Funeral services will be private. Shiva will be observed Sunday, September 18, 3-7 pm, with Mincha at around 4:30 pm, at 219E Queens River Drive, West Kingston, RI.  In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Museum of Science, Boston, 1 Science Park, Boston MA 02114 and The Nature Conservatory, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203.

1 Comment

  1. david fried
    Sep 15, 2022

    What a great pic of your mom, just how I remember her. I consider it an honor and pleasure to have known her and always was in awe of her professional accomplishments. My deepest and heartfelt condolences to you , David , Joshua and Marc .
    Tanuahi al mishkavech beshalom
    David Fried

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