DeMOTT--Margaret Aldrich, on April 24, at the age of 100, in Montecito, California. Maddie was the daughter of Richard Aldrich, the eminent New York Times music critic, and Margaret Chanler Aldrich, and sister of the late Richard Chanler Aldrich. Survivors include her sons Christopher Rand, Richard Rand, Peter Rand, her daughter Diana Rand Fairclough, eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. She is predeceased by her daughter Mary Rand Johnson. Maddie spent her childhood on West 74th Street in New York City, and at Rokeby, the family farm on the Hudson in Dutchess County. A graduate of Vassar College, pianist and Francophile, she was also an accomplished equestrienne who rode to hounds with the Chatham Hunt, where she met her first husband, Christopher Rand, a Yale undergraduate at the time, who later earned renown as a journalist and New Yorker correspondent. Maddie DeMott was a woman who attracted a great many loving friends and admirers all through her life wherever she made her home, on the West Coast, in San Francisco and Santa Barbara, and abroad, in Paris and Nairobi, Kenya. Maddie was an avid tennis player. For over a decade she was happily married to Byron DeMott, a beloved Santa Barbara tennis pro, with whom Maddie played an active role in the Southern California tennis world of the 1950s and early 1960s. She was a self-styled adventurer. In the years following Byron's premature death in 1963, Maddie traveled to Africa, where she lived and worked for twenty years as the founder of the Flying Doctor's Society, a fundraising arm of the African Medical Research Foundation. She was a woman of sparkling wit and modesty who took delight in the name bestowed upon her by a British television documentary titled "The Angel of Africa." Maddie will be missed by her extended family and all those who knew and worked with her, including the staff of the Casa Dorinda, where she spent the last years of her eventful, adventurous life. Donations in Maddie's memory can be made to AMREF.
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Published in The New York Times on Apr. 28, 2011