Harriet Treon Friedlander died on Nov. 24 at age 89. Harriet Ann Treon was born on May 20, 1931, in Recife, Brazil, where her father was working; she was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Like her parents and sisters, Harriet was a graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie-Mellon University. She married William Friedlander in 1960 following four years in San Francisco. They lived first in Chicago and, since 1965, in Evanston, a community she grew to love.
Harriet founded the Evanston Farmers Market in 1975 out of a desire to be able to buy locally-grown organic produce. Driven out by low-cost grocery chains, farmers markets had disappeared in the Chicago area after the Second World War, but began reappearing in the mid- and late 1970s. The Evanston Market was the very first, and soon was widely emulated in both the city and suburbs. Harriet was well-known among the farmers, many of whom have now been at the market for decades.
In 2008, along with her friend Libby Hill, Harriet also founded North Shore Village, a self-help organization for seniors committed to maintaining active social and intellectual lives and living independently. It is now known as WiseUp.
A lifelong learner, Harriet loved taking adult-education classes at Northwestern University, where she studied poetry, Eastern philosophy, and the works of Dante and Goethe, among others. She was a popular class co-leader and developed many devoted friendships. She had a gift for light verse, and friends always looked forward to her witty and insightful poems, carefully crafted for special occasions. An excellent chef, Harriet was also a gardener and herbalist, and brought her love of the natural world to a fine-art form she invented. Botanical fiber art, as she called it, involves dried plants and flowers, fabrics and dyes. A lifelong classical-music listener, she enjoyed opera especially and Wagner’s works in particular.
Harriet is survived by her husband of 60 years, Willliam; sons Gustave and Charles Friedlander, both of Evanston; sister Susan Treon of Pittsburgh; and several cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Clyde Treon and Miriam Treon (nee Salter), and sister Catherine.
She is deeply missed, and will be loved forever. A memorial gathering is planned for a later date.
Arrangements by Cremation Society of Illinois, 773-281-5058 or www.cremation-society.com.