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82, of Phoenix passed away on November 23, 2013. Gwendolyn Chaiken was born in Iowa City in 1931, the youngest child of Alfred Scales, her American father and Susan Murchie, a nurse from Scotland . She had an idyllic childhood filled with horse riding, figure skating, and outdoor adventures with her father. She graduated from University of Iowa with a degree in zoology, and while a student became the lead Highland dancer in the all-woman Highlanders, a Scottish pipe and drum band. She met her husband, Ben Chaiken, while attending the University of Iowa and they married in 1954. They had three daughters, Miriam, Sara, and Rebecca. The family moved to Phoenix in 1967 and remained in the same Arcadia-area home until this year. Gwenn was known for her wide circle of friends and her varied interests, from antique and art collecting, to book clubs, to hiking groups, to walking with her beloved dogs. Because her husband disliked traveling, she intrepidly set off on travels by herself or in the company of friends or her daughters. She loved her adventures in Mexico, Europe, Kenya, and the Middle East, as well as extensive travels through the US. She was renowned as an excellent cook and hostess, a cheerful and giving person, and beloved by all who knew her. Her husband of 59 years passed away earlier this year. She is survived by her three daughters, two sons-in-law (Tom Conelly and Cameron Counters), her older sister Margaret Brewer, nephew David Brewer, sisters-in-law Miriam and Shami Chaikin and Faye Chaikin Pearl, as well as nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations made in her memory to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden would have pleased her.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Dec. 7, 2013