ADELE FILENE

Obituary
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FILENE--Adele Bleichroeder, died peacefully on August 8, in Stamford, CT at the age of 101. Born in Berlin of a family distinguished in banking and medicine, she took courses in Paris and Vienna in fashion and design. Forced to flee to London in 1938, she worked as a swim suit designer for Jantzen. When war started, she was designing handbags for Leopold Kahn and overnight found herself supervising the production of parachutes. Her twin boys were evacuated. Alone she experienced life in a city under heavy bombing and in austere conditions. With peace, she established her own haute couture salon, some of her more prominent clients being drawn from the staff of the German embassy - an irony not lost on her. She moved to the U.S. in 1970 to marry Herman Filene, and was a founder member of the Costume Society of America, its treasurer, organizer of international study tours, and the establisher of a scholarship for students of fashion. A central focus became the Women's City Club of New York. She was a life member, director, chair of the Arts & Landmarks and Membership Committees, and an indefatigable contributor to the club's goals. In her private life, she bore with fortitude the loss of relatives under persecution in Germany, and the death in action of a son in the Korean War. For her family she was a formidable presence, yet encouraging, perceptive, and a mine of sound counsel. Adele was self-reliant. Despite more than her share of vicissitudes, she was always positive. She personified duty and determination, resilience, courage, and a stoic grace, the latter so noticeable as friends passed on and her own strength diminished. But she lost none of her acuity and involvement with the world around her, in her last days suggesting refinements for her daughter-in-law's hand sewn skirt, and chuckling mischievously during a discussion on what matters and what does not. She is survived by a son, Thomas Juliusburger and his wife Machiko, of Stamford, CT, three grandchildren, Susanna Allen and her husband Jonathan, of Henley, UK, Stephan Juliusburger of Miami, FL, and Nicholas Juliusburger, of Fairfield, CT, and three great grandchildren, Dr. Kirsty Allen and Mr. James Allen in England, and Sage Juliusburger in Fairfield. We respect her for what she achieved and miss her profoundly.

Published in The New York Times on Aug. 12, 2010