Deaths | October 7, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - October 7, 2011


Dora B. Goldstein

Dora B. Goldstein, 89, a Stanford professor of pharmacology and pioneer of women in medicine, died Oct. 2 in Palo Alto after a fall.

A member of the first class at Harvard Medical School to admit women, she worked to advance the cause of women in medicine and served in leadership positions in the civil rights and gay rights movements.

She was born April 25, 1922, in Milton, Mass., to George Wheeler Benedict and Marjory Pierce Benedict. She had a sister, Margaret, and brothers George and Laurence. She attended Bryn Mawr college, where she was coxswain on the crew team, but left before graduation to work on chemicals in the World War II war effort.

She was admitted to Harvard Medical School along with 11 other women, the first ever admitted, and received her M.D. degree in 1949. She married Avram Goldstein, who had been her professor at Harvard, and both became prominent researchers in pharmacology and members of the department at Stanford University, where they lived starting in 1955.

She was a leading expert on alcohol and alcoholism. She served as president of the Research Society on Alcoholism, received the society's annual award for scientific excellence in 1981, and won the Jellinek Memorial Award for alcohol studies in 1996. Her book "Pharmacology of Alcohol" (Oxford University Press) appeared in 1983. Her work established basic biological principles underlying alcoholism, such as the metabolism of alcohol and its wide-ranging effects in the body.

She published in leading journals such as Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and served on the advisory board of the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism. She was also an innovator in using computer-based simulation to teach molecular pharmacology in the 1980s.

She championed the cause of women in the field of medicine throughout her career. After years in non-tenure track positions at Stanford, working in research while raising four children, she was promoted to tenured full professor in the medical school.

She helped establish and co-directed a mentoring program for young faculty at the medical school starting in 1994. The Dora B. Goldstein Collection at the Stanford medical school library houses the archives of women's struggles for equality there. She played a central role in the Professional Women of Stanford Medical School (1969-74), the Joint Committee on the Status and Tenure of Women (1970-77), and the Katharine McCormick Society (1979-81).

In the 1960s, she participated in the civil rights movement, serving as vice president of the local NAACP and fundraising for the group. In the 1990s she became a leader in the gay-rights movement and served for a decade on the national board of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). She lectured on the biology of sexual orientation.

In the house on Stanford campus where she lived for 50 years, she enjoyed gardening, sunbathing, knitting and cooking.

She is survived by her husband, Avram Goldstein, of Palo Alto; her children, Margaret Wallace of Longmont, Colo., Dan Goldstein of Port Townsend, Wash., Joshua Goldstein of Amherst, Mass., and Michael Goldstein of San Francisco; five grandchildren; and her sister, Margaret of Harwich, Mass. She was predeceased by her brothers.

A memorial will be held Sunday, Oct. 9, at 2 p.m. at Vi Living, 620 Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto. Memorial donations may be sent to PFLAG, 1828 L St., NW, Ste. 660, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Lynn Marsh

Lynn Pollock Marsh, 75, a longtime resident of Palo Alto and Menlo Park, died Aug. 28.

She was born in Roseburg, Ore., grew up in Orinda, Calif., and graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1956. She lived in Palo Alto and Menlo Park until recently.

She attended the California College of Art and worked in drawings, bronze casting, papermaking, textile and environmental art. Her drawing, "Djed Pillar," is in the City of Palo Alto's permanent art collection, and her Great Blue Heron metal sculpture greets visitors to the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center in Palo Alto.

She worked at the Stanford Overseas Study Office and at Nature Explorations in Palo Alto, providing support for students, science teachers, and artists. As a reference and research librarian, she knew the power of information and loved providing it. She taught papermaking, using the mushrooms and lichens she foraged from the hills.

She is survived by daughters Krista and Karin Marsh; three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many friends.

A memorial gathering will be held Oct. 29 (call 650 854-2496 for details). A retrospective exhibit of her art will be shown at the McCree-Goudeau Gallery in Vallejo, opening in November.

Donations may be made in her memory to Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306.

Norina Miller

Norina Miller, 28, died Aug. 16 in her Menlo Park family home from brain cancer, diagnosed in 2006.

She had been living in Oakland while earning a teaching credential and master's degree in education at Mills College. She grew up in Menlo Park where she attended Peninsula School and Menlo-Atherton High School. She graduated from San Francisco State University, majoring in dance, in 2010. She studied modern dance intensively from the age of five into adulthood under the guidance of Judith Komoroske, her first and most influential dance teacher.

She held a deep commitment to improving the lives of children. From an early age she expressed her commitment through action. She volunteered in children's dance classes; at a village school in rural Maharashtra, India; at the Boys & Girls Club in East Menlo Park; at the Meher Spiritual Center teens' summer camp in South Carolina; and in bilingual elementary classrooms in San Francisco and Oakland. She worked for many years at Peninsula School in its summer and childcare programs, and in the third grade classroom.

She was deeply devoted to spiritual master Avatar Meher Baba. She made three pilgrimages to India and many trips to the Meher Spiritual Center in South Carolina. Meher Baba's work and teachings served as the inspiration central to every aspect of her life. Her unwavering focus guided her, particularly through her struggle with cancer, and served as an inspiration to others.

Throughout her 28 years, she touched the lives of those in her wide circle of family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances in myriad ways. She will be remembered for her intelligence, humor, integrity and compassion.

She is survived by her parents, Jeff and Terra Miller of Menlo Park; her brother and sister-in-law, Lee and Ayla Miller of Redwood City; her brothers, Cole and Dale of Portland, Ore.; and by four grandparents.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, Oct. 23. Please contact the family for more information at

Donations in her memory may be made to Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, or Meher Fund.


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