August 12, 1952 – November 15, 2020
Half my heart is taken away. My wife, Maria Meylikhova, passed away peacefully today from complications of the carcinoid neuroendocrine tumor that she had battled bravely since the onset of symptoms in August 2018, although the disease was only properly diagnosed in May 2019. If you haven't heard of the tumor, it's because it is somewhat rare, though it was the cancer that took Steve Jobs, Aretha Franklin, and Irrfan Khan. The effects of the tumor destroyed three of her heart valves, but she risked open heart surgery in January 2020 for valve replacement to gain more time for herself and her family. But the insidious enemy undermined her systems by various lines of attack, and she finally succumbed today peacefully late this afternoon surrounded by family both present and virtual. Maria (Masha to friends and family) was born in Moscow in the former Soviet Union. She studied economics at Moscow State University. The final straw for Masha was when she was rejected for placement at a prestigious but "classified" economics research institute and, posing as the placement officer at the University, asked the Institute on the phone why they wouldn't accept their graduate M. Meylikhova according to state regulations. "You know.. You know... You know... WE DON'T TAKE JEWS!" Masha was the spearhead of the family emigration to the United States in 1979, where she became a special graduate student at Harvard in the Economics Department. That's where I met Masha, where we lived in the same graduate dorm, and I approached her to help me with my Russian homework. For over 40 years we have been a couple and over 38 years man and wife. Together we raised two children, now adults, who are wonderful human beings and successful in their chosen professions. Masha was able to embrace the Jewish religion that the Soviet Communist state denied her, and we raised both our kids as bnei mitzvah, even though I remained a Protestant fellow traveler. After decades working in computer software design, she had just launched a new and fulfilling career in medical interpretation of Russian when the disease struck her. Masha enjoyed classical music, particularly piano music, and one of her greatest joys (of which the pandemic deprived her since March) was attendance of concerts at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She loved to knit, though various challenges of the disease eventually deprived her of this pleasure. Until the end, she loved to read--or to be read to, when reading became hard. This has laid waste to my heart and mind. Pray for her righteous soul, and pray for my comfort.
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November 18, 2020
I am incredibly saddened to learn of Maria’s passing. Rachel and I have been friends since we were 5 (Vachel & Varni) and over several years I have many memories of Maria including Shabbat dinners at the Quist’s and trips to the MFA. When I think of Maria I hear her laugh- very full of life- often laughing along with Rachel or reluctantly at something funny Rachel said that was maybe a bit mischievous but true. She really had a great a sense of humor.
Rachel, Terry, and Mark, I am so sorry for your loss. I will never forget Maria. Now, she’s closer to her mother and no doubt looking over you all. Sending lots of love.
November 17, 2020
I worked with Maria at Partners for over 10 years, when I learned of her passing not one memory stood out. Instead I saw her big smile, and heard her distinctive voice and laugh. My thoughts are with you during this sad time.