August 23, 1930 – November 28, 2019
Deborah Lancaster August 23, 1930 – November 28, 2019
Deborah Lancaster was born Dvora Mendelovitch on August 23rd, 1930, in Ostrowiec, Poland. At the age of 6, she and her mother, Hinda, emigrated to Petach Tikva, Israel to join her father, Isaachar, who had previously emigrated .
As a high school student, Deborah joined the Palmach, the Jewish resistance movement for Israeli independence, where she met her first husband, Yehuda Grunfeld. She became an officer in the Palmach by the time of the Israeli War of Independence. She was involved in defending Israeli kibutzim from the Syrian army in northern Israel.
After the war, Deborah earned her law degree cum laude from the Hebrew University. She then worked for the Attorney General of the State of Israel, where she served as an assistant prosecutor in the ground breaking Kastner trial, a seminal court case that encompassed moral and ethical issues pertaining to the Holocaust.
Following the untimely death of her husband, Deborah and her young son moved to the United States where she earned her American law degree from Columbia Law School in 1967. She was a pioneer female corporate attorney in NYC, working first for Marshall, Bratter, Greene, Allison & Tucker, then Skadden, Arps, and subsequently as in-house counsel at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell (now KPMG). In 1986 she joined CorNet, a pharmacological information start-up which was eventually bought by Dendrite International.
Deborah married Kelvin Lancaster, a Professor in economics, in 1963, and has lived in Morningside Heights since 1971.
Deborah was a woman of indomitable spirit, extraordinary tenacity and keen intellect. She was deeply involved in philanthropic causes and contributed generously to various institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Columbia University.
Deborah will be remembered for her hospitality - her home in New York served as a welcome respite for innumerable friends and relatives from Israel, Australia and countries across the world. Her generosity was legendary, and she loved to be recognized for her quick mind and elegant sense of style. New York City was her favorite place on earth, and she was grateful for the many opportunities and activities the city presented. Most of all, Deborah held her family near and dear to her heart.
She is survived by her son Dr. Gilead Lancaster (Mary) of Redding CT, stepson Clifton Lancaster (Meryl) of Avon, CT, brother Professor Uri Shaked (Ziporah) of Rehovot, Israel, and 5 beloved grandchildren - Ian, Neal, Peter, Meredith and Chloe.