Fay Lande, former Sun employee, dies

She worked as an editorial assistant in Columbia and Towson

  • Fay Lande
Fay Lande
September 27, 2010|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Fay Lande, a gentle, religious woman who spent her early adulthood in a turbulent New York and was later a Baltimore Sun worker, died of cancer Sept. 20 at Howard County General Hospital. The longtime Columbia resident was 72.

Born Fay Halpern in New York to parents who were both labor activists, she attended public schools and then went to Reed College in Portland, Ore.

She later returned to New York to study philosophy at Columbia University, and then painting and fine arts at Indiana University, according to her elder daughter. Anna Halpern-Lande. She remained in the East Village during the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s, where she helped found an alternative children's day care co-op devoted to providing a freer, nurturing environment.

She did painting, puppet-making, tie-dye and batik on silk, said Robert Lande, her husband of 32 years.

"She was immersed with the culture and the social world of the East Village," recalled her daughter, who had been a student at the co-op. "It was just a wonderful, creative environment."

A social crusader, she also worked to ban red dye #2, which she felt was a health threat, her daughter said.

Mrs. Lande spent some time during the 1960s in England, at Leeds University, Mr. Lande said.

They met in 1976 and married two years later, when they moved to Vienna, Austria, for Mr. Lande's job. They spent three years there, during which time Mrs. Lande, who was Jewish, was on occasion confronted with the remnants of anti-Semitism. Later they returned to New York, where Mrs. Lande's mother was dying. The family moved to Baltimore in 1984.

Spurred by experiences like those in Vienna and expressions of caring from Orthodox women at her mother's death, Mrs. Lande gradually became more religious, eventually joining the Lubavitch Center for Jewish Education in Columbia.

"She had very strongly held convictions and faith. A marvelous woman," said Lubavitch Rabbi Hillel Baron.

She came to work for The Baltimore Sun in the circulation department in 1993, later working as an editorial assistant in Sun bureaus in Towson and Columbia.

"She joined in the hope of becoming a writer," her older daughter said, and she did for a time write some feature stories for The Sun and the Howard Sun, though her principal duties were compiling community, religious, business and recreational notices printed in the Howard County edition of the paper.

John Fairhall, a former Sun editor who supervised her as Howard County bureau chief for more than two years, said she was "an amazingly likeable person" with "a terrific intelligence and sensitivity." Mr. Fairhall said she monitored four community columnists who wrote for the section. "She was well-respected and well-liked by her colleagues and by people in the community," he said.

Maureen Conners, another former Sun editor who worked with Mrs. Lande, said, "Fay was a gentle soul who was fierce about her family and faith." She was also an "immensely talented writer," Ms. Conners said.

But her primary focus was on her family.

"She was devoted to her family, to her children. She was the emotional core of our family," Mr. Lande said.

She traveled to the Netherlands in late 2008 to attend the birth of her first grandchild and care for Ms. Halpern-Lande, a San Francisco-based entrepreneur who moved to Europe. Later, after being laid off from The Sun in April 2009, she spent weeks helping her younger daughter, Sarah Ogince, who had given birth to a second grandchild in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Plans for a memorial service in November are incomplete.

In addition to her husband and two daughters, she is survived by two grandchildren.

larry.carson@baltsun.com

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