Mark Davidoff, 83, schoolteacher

December 26, 2005

Mark Davidoff, an avid clarinet player and retired high school teacher, died Friday at St. Joseph Medical Center of complications after undergoing heart surgery. The Pikesville resident was 83.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Mr. Davidoff played clarinet with the Penn State Blue Band while attending Pennsylvania State University. He also performed with the Work Projects Administration Band during the 1940 inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After serving as an Army medic during World War II - he earned a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in France - Mr. Davidoff studied French at the Sorbonne in Paris and then completed his undergraduate degree at Bucknell University.

In 1951, he married Mimi Marantz. The couple spent a year in Spain, where Mr. Davidoff studied Spanish. He then earned a master's degree in French at Middlebury College.

The couple settled in Westchester County, N.Y., and Mr. Davidoff taught French, Spanish, German and Italian at Mahopac High School. They retired to the Baltimore area in 1995 to live near their daughters.

Over the years, Mr. and Mrs. Davidoff regularly traveled overseas, particularly in Europe. Their most recent trip involved three weeks in Turkey.

"He always loved to speak the language of wherever we traveled," Mrs. Davidoff recalled. "He was so good at language, he was always mistaken for being a native of the country we were visiting."

In recent years, Mr. Davidoff was active as a member of Beth Am Synagogue and with the leadership of the Senior Men's Fellowship at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

He also continued playing the clarinet, including with the Goldenaires, a big band based in Columbia. He joined the group in performances at inaugural celebrations for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and President Bush, his family said.

Services will be held today at 11 a.m. at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Davidoff is survived by a sister, Jean Finkel of Miami; three daughters, Lynn Davidoff of Budapest, Hungary, Amy Davidoff of Baltimore and Judy Drager-Davidoff of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.

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