Gladys Rubinstein passed away
on January 25, 2014, at age 92, within one week of her 93rd birthday, at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, CA. Burdened with numerous physical problems, surrounded by family, she finally succumbed to a combination of pneumonia and influenza. Gladys, a lifelong philanthropist and devoted mother, spent her life as an ardent supporter of the arts in Seattle and Palm Springs, California. Her parents, Hattie and Harry Seidenverg emigrated from Poland and Russia at the turn of the century. A few years after the birth of her brother Louis, Gladys was born in Anchorage, Alaska, on January 28, 1921. The family moved to Seattle when Gladys was a teenager. Gladys was a precocious student; at age 16 she started college at the University of Washington. At 19, Gladys married Sam Rubinstein, a successful Seattle businessman. They were together until Sam's death sixty-six years later and shared many passions. In their 20s they became fine bridge players and low-handicap golfers. In 1951, at Glendale Golf and Country Club, Gladys won the woman's championship in the same year that Sam won the men's championship. In so many ways did the couple share their lives that it became common to refer to them as if they were one, "Sam and Gladys." Gladys and Sam traveled widely beginning in 1950 before European and Asian travel became popular. The couple were in the vanguard in their art collections of Northwest Painting and later, early 20th Century Modernism. For many years they spent their summer weekends on their boat navigating the waters of Puget Sound. In 1948, they built one of the first contemporary homes in Seattle on Lake Washington. Over the years Gladys, along with Sam, was a staunch supporter of many charities, most notably: Music -
Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Chamber Music Society; Other Fine Arts - Seattle Art Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum, Pillchuck Glass School; Theater - A Contemporary Theatre, Book-It Repertory Theatre, and McCallum Theater. Although these were her major charities, she also supported many others including recently the All-Star Orchestra and The Committee of 33, and for several years the Betty Bowen Endowment Fund, Jewish Family Services, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, and the Northwest Kidney Centers. After Sam passed away, Gladys continued to support these organizations, if anything more liberally. Gladys was strong, opinionated, blunt and fantastically generous. In a traditional age, she created her own modern and refined aesthetic, much admired and emulated by the people who knew her. She lived ahead of her time, traveling the world and collecting art that would later be recognized as great. She was also an avid collector of recipes that were both delicious and healthy. Her family knew her as a strong partner, a forceful mother and an assertive grandmother. Her son remembers how after dinner, his mother would play the piano while he and his father sang American folk songs. Her granddaughter remembers her as the key person who told her to follow her passion however unusual. According to her grandson, "Gladys showed me what true love is all about. Love requires passion, dedication and acceptance of who one wants to be in life." Perhaps she is, best of all, known as a loyal friend to the hundreds of people who knew her. She was an impeccable and gracious hostess to the many people she brought together. She is survived by her son Mark (Diane), her niece Shelley (Doug) Swerland, and her grandchildren Maisie and Judd. The family would like to recognize Maria Ramirez who for the last 24 years was her housekeeper and later her nurse, Hiromi Ishida who for the last 15 years was her cook and later also her companion, and Patty Stover who for the last 17 years began as Sam's personal secretary and became Gladys' financial manager. Gladys was also cared for by Rosie Ramirez, Alysse Anderson, Victor Ramirez, Angie Hatcher, Rebecca Angeles, Stephanie Basquez, and Jackie Ramirez.
A memorial service will be held at the Palm Springs Art Museum (101 Museum Drive) on Friday, January 31st at 2:00PM. Later this year, a service will be held as well in Seattle, Washington. In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Gladys can be made to: Seattle Symphony Orchestra (206-215-4832), Seattle Art Museum (206-654-3177), and Palm Springs Art Museum (760-322-4800).