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Eleanor Schmidt of Gainesville, Florida, died Monday, January 6, 2020. She graduated from Wellesley College with a major in microbiology and a minor in fine arts. Immediately after college, she worked on techniques to culture polio virus in the laboratory of Dr. John Enders. While she was in the lab, Dr. Enders was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on polio. She married Dr. Herbert Kaufman and continued her research in virology with a focus on using electron microscopy at the National Institutes of Health. They eventually moved to Gainesville, Florida, where she became active in the Medical Guild, helping to found their first charitable Antiques Fair. In the late 1970's Eleanor became the Cultural Coordinator of Gainesville, writing a weekly newspaper article about the local arts, organizing arts shows, including starting Gainesville's November Arts Festival and Show, and writing grants for Arts in the Schools, theater, dance and poetry. She then opened the Art Collector Gallery, showcasing regional artists. During that time she married Dr. Richard P. Schmidt. The gallery closed after 13 years and Eleanor became a docent at the UF Harn Museum and later also the Florida Natural History Museum.
Eleanor Schmidt is survived by her sister, Carol Bennett (John); brother, Dr. Lee Rosenblum; her three children, Drs. Stephen (Valette), Joshua (Vickie) and Claire (Mark Brown) Kaufman; stepdaughter Viki Schmidt; and 8 beloved grandchildren.
The family would like to especially thank Dr. Avila and the staff at Oak Hammock for their wonderful care.
Service will be held Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. at Congregation B'nai Israel, 3830 NW 16th Blvd, Gainesville with Rabbi David Kaiman officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Parkinson's Foundation or Congregation B'nai Israel. Please visit her memorial page at
Published in Gainesville Sun from Jan. 8 to Jan. 9, 2020
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