OBITUARY: Lenore “Lori” Alice Sawyer Radloff

IMAGE: Lenore “Lori” Radloff. photo courtesy Radloff family.


MAR 23 — Lenore “Lori” Alice Sawyer Radloff of Takoma Park, MD passed away on Saturday, March 5, 2016.

Lori was born May 13, 1935, and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was the second of three children born to Charles and Elizabeth Jost Sawyer. Growing up, Lori was involved in Unitarian youth groups and summer programs and she graduated from Washburn High School, Minneapolis, in 1952, spending her senior year studying abroad in England.

She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in statistics. She remained at Minnesota where she met her future husband Roland Radloff while pursuing graduate studies in psychology and biostatistics, graduating ABD in 1959. In 1956, she and Roland married and together they had three children: Leslie (1959), Judi (1962), and Ben (1964). They lived briefly in New Haven, Connecticut, before moving to Washington, D.C., in 1961. Lori and Rollie divorced in 1973 and Lori moved to Takoma Park, Maryland, where she lived for 43 years.


Lenore Radloff (1935 – 2016).

Lori began working for the Federal government in 1970 as an epidemiological statistician at National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). In 1988, she transferred to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and remained there until she retired in 1994. Before re-entering the workforce after 10 years as a “housewife,” Lori returned to school to brush up on computer science and statistics.

In her work at the NIMH Center for Epidemiological Studies, Lori was instrumental in developing the first major self-report scale for depression in adults, the CES-D, published in 1977. The scale is still in use today and has been adapted for applications to children, adolescents, and older adults. Her later career work included review of funding proposals by researchers around the country and she organized and attended review committee conferences.

A curious mind and deep sense of social justice drove Lori’s career and personal pursuits throughout her life. She was a dedicated second-wave feminist, leading by example in her career and parenting style by volunteering for the League of Women Voters, Neighbors, Inc., the Poor People’s Campaign

She cared about her community, participating in local politics, and generously supporting many progressive social causes. Together, the group did street cleanups, lobbied successfully for a stop sign at Flower and Houston, encouraged drivers to slow down, and held community watch patrols and clean-ups. She was a good neighbor and a good spirit.

In retirement she pursued understanding of neuroscience, astrophysics, and cosmic principles and never stopped seeking spiritual pathways to peace, understanding and enlightenment. While living in River Park and Shepherd Park, D.C., Lori was a member of All Souls Unitarian Church. She explored literature and teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and Christianity and appreciated the artwork and sacred places of many spiritual traditions during her leisure and travels to England, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Tibet.

Lori deeply loved art, literature, photography and theater, and she enjoyed attending plays and movies with friends and family. She never went anywhere without a good book to read, usually a murder mystery. Her passions also included gardening and birds and she tended her yard to nurture native and naturalized plants and animals.

She loved cats and always had one or more as companion animals, and she volunteered at the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL). She also provided short-term housing for veterinary students volunteering for WARL and Greenpeace volunteers.

Lori is survived by her three children, seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and her sister Marie Fredell of Berkeley, California, and predeceased by her brother John. Lori was very proud of her children and grandchildren’s diverse interests, talents and skills.

Friends will gather for a remembrance at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, 3215 Powder Mill Road, Adelphi, Maryland 20783, on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 10 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made in Lori’s name to Greenpeace, the Environmental Defense Fund, or the American Civil Liberties Union.

1 Comment on "OBITUARY: Lenore “Lori” Alice Sawyer Radloff"

  1. Suzane Ludlow | March 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm |

    Lori was a wonderful resident. She and I served together on the County’s Long Branch Task Force many years ago. She had a great sense of humor and lots of common sense. She really contributed to Takoma Park and her neighborhood. I will miss her.

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