Saturday, January 06, 2007


Today's Chicago Tribune contained an obituary for Marion Alshuler Despres, aged 96, a long time community leader, preservationist, and architecture cheerleader. Her father designed our synagogue.

Mrs. Despres and her husband, former Chicago alderman Leon Despres, were married for 75 years. I didn't know her very well -- I'd met her a couple of times over the years as I ushered at high holidays or at other social events in Hyde Park -- and I never suspected her really cool secret.

Now forgive me if I have any of the details wrong -- Myfanwe already recycled the Tribune.

Accompanying her obituary was a picture or Marion Despres standing in front of a portrait painted of her by Diego Rivera. It seems The Despres' had taken a suitcase of clothing to Mexico for Leon Trotsky, who had been exiled from Russia and was living with Rivera and his wife, Frida Kahlo. Rivera painted the portrait of Mrs. Despres while Leon Despres and Frida Kahlo took Trotsky to a movie!

Isn't that just about the coolest thing you've ever heard?

May her memory forever be a blessing. And let us say amen.

1 comment:

Sarah Abbott said...

That is one of the coolest stories I've ever, read.