October 15, 1924 – December 28, 2019
Miriam Friedenthal Citrin, 95, passed away on December 28, 2019, following a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, on October 15, 1924 to her beloved parents, the late Bernard and Rose Friedenthal. Miriam was an always engaged and brilliant woman who was ahead of her time. She tenaciously pursued a career in Internal Medicine when few women were following this path, while simultaneously running a household full of warmth and happiness, directed by her respect for education and equality.
She attended New Utrecht High School, Brooklyn College, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a major in Biology. She went on to study medicine at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. After achieving her MD, she went on to complete her residency at the Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center. It was there that she met the love of her life and husband of 67 years, Dr. Lester Citrin. They were married on April 11, 1952, and after completing their respective residencies, they left Brooklyn for Albany, NY. Theirs was a partnership marked by mutual respect, joy of family, shared responsibility, and love until the last moments of Miriam’s long life.
From this partnership came three daughters—Joan, Myra, and Beth. Miriam was a devoted mother, and always made sure that her work allowed sufficient family time to raise her children. She worked for many years at Glenridge Hospital as the Director of the Cardiopulmonary Division. When that hospital closed its doors, she worked as an attending physician in Internal Medicine at Albany Medical Center until her retirement in 1989. Her students and patients remember her fondly as a talented mentor and compassionate caregiver.
In her free time, Miriam was a passionate tennis and bridge player, lover of the arts, and a lifelong learner. She was an expert downhill skier (provided the mountains were flat). Aside from her husband, nothing brought her more joy than her three children, their partners, and her nine grandchildren. Looking at photos and videos of her one great-grandchild and singing the songs she once sang to her own children were among the few things that brought a smile to her face in the last months of her life. She was the proverbial wise woman, and her listening ear and thoughtful advice were sought by her children, their friends, and her grandchildren. She will be remembered by all for her no-nonsense authenticity, her brilliant counsel, and her willingness to go to the ends of the earth for those she loved.
Miriam is survived by her husband, Lester Citrin MD; her sister, Irma Frank; her daughters, Joan Goddard MD (Moses Goddard MD), Myra Citrin MD (Robert Millstein MD), Beth Citrin (Skip West). She is also survived by her grandchildren, Jesse, Benjamin, Daniel (Rachel), Jonathan, Julia, Rebecca, Robert, Sara, and Ross; and great-grandson Benjamin Millstein. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Miriam’s name to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at tribute.michaeljfox.org.
L. E. Buckwalter
January 13, 2020
Miriam was a wonderful mate and mother--and a highly skilled physician. Perhaps above all she was a solidly principled human being. To Lester, Joan, Myra and Beth, please accept my heartfelt condolences. For many, I am certain, her death may well mark the end of an era.
L. E. Buckwalter, MD
January 7, 2020
I wanted to express my sympathy to your family for the loss of your wife and mother. She was a remarkable woman, devoted to her family and always willing to listen to others. She was a devoted physician whose ability to help patients was well respected by many. I first met her 50 years ago during my first year teaching at Niskayuna and found her to be both understanding and helpful to this very young and inexperienced teacher. Together with her husband, she raised three remarkable daughters. I am sorry for your loss and the loss that so many people must feel.
January 6, 2020
In 1980, I visited Miriam/Lester with my French then-boyfriend at a turbulent time in our relationship. It was such a rough patch that Philippe asked Miriam, as a physician, to give him a letter providing medical justification for advancing his flight back to France (which would have most likely ended our relationship). She refused to do so (ostensibly because he wasn't sick -- the real reason may have been that she believed in us!). He stayed for the duration, we worked out the issues and have now been married for almost 40 years! Other than my high-school French teacher, Aunt Miriam is arguably the person who exerted the greatest influence on the course of my life! I will miss her. -- Audrey