Mecca Carpenter of Lexington, MA died on August 4, 2013 at age 76. Mecca was born in Chicago, IL in 1936 to Medina Oliver and Dr. Ben Reitman. After Ben died in 1942, Medina worked full-time to support her four daughters. As the eldest, Mecca was responsible for taking care of her sisters and keeping the family together. Mecca met her husband Alden while she was studying at Harvard University on a National Science Foundation Fellowship. After their marriage in 1961, they moved to Columbia, Missouri. In 1981, Mecca and Alden moved to Fullerton, California, and in 1998, to Lexington, MA. Mecca received degrees from The University of Chicago (BA), Columbia Teachers College (MA) and the University of Missouri (MA and PhD). Her professional life included roles as Director of the Missouri State Health Planning Agency, Director of Health Promotion at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, CA, and as a fundraiser for non-profit organizations. In 1999, Mecca published a biography of her famous father entitled "No Regrets: Dr. Ben Reitman and the Women Who Loved Him". Mecca's volunteer service included a weekly radio talk show on women's health, and leadership positions at the Unitarian Universalist congregations in Columbia and in Fullerton. Following a serious illness in 1999, Mecca remained active, serving as a Religious Education Teacher at Follen Church, English language tutor, and volunteer at the Belmont Public Library. In addition to her husband Alden, Mecca is survived by her daughter Holly, her daughter Laurel (Greg Shenstone), her sisters Medina (Herb) Gross, Victoria (Ed) Kapp, and Olive (Jerry) Poliks, and many nieces and nephews. Mecca will be remembered for her out-going personality, generosity and her strong will. Contributions in her memory can be made to need-based scholarship funds at The University of Chicago or another school. Commemorations of her life will take place on Sunday, October 20 at 2 pm at Follen Community Church in Lexington, MA and on Sunday, October 13 at 3 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin, IL in the Chicago area.
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Published in The Lexington Minuteman from Aug. 20 to Aug. 27, 2013