By Steven J. Smith
BOCA RATON — Resident and patroness of the arts Florence Brody died Nov. 26. She was 93.
Born Florence Gropper in Newark, N.J., she attended Upsala College. Following World War II, she met Martin Brody on a blind date and the two were married six months later, according to her daughter, Renee Brody Levow.
“She was the love of his life,” Brody Levow said. “They made a great team.”
From 1963 to 1992, Martin Brody was the chairman of Restaurant Associates, which created and owned such renowned New York City eateries as The Four Seasons, The Forum, Mama Leone’s, Tavern on the Green, Brasserie, La Fonda del Sol and Sea Grill.
Brody Levow said her mother enhanced Martin Brody’s business by coming up with innovations that have since evolved into staples in the food service industry.
“She hosted a 60th birthday party for him back in the early ’80s,” she said. “It took place at Lincoln Center and she instituted individual food stations at the event that provided the guests with a really interesting range of international cuisine. I don’t think anyone else had ever done that before and the concept is still popular at all kinds of food-related events today.”
Mrs. Brody’s enthusiasm for the arts culminated in board positions at The New York Shakespeare Festival and The Folk Art Museum, Brody Levow added, where she put her fundraising acumen to its fullest use.
“Some of those events were actually featured in the press,” she said. “I believe they were covered in the society section of The New York Times, among other newspapers. She had a real passion for the arts.”
The Brodys eventually bought a home in Boca Raton, which became their residence roughly six months out of each year, Brody Levow said, alternating with their Livingston, N.J., home.
“They loved the weather here, which is why they bought a place in Boca,” she said. “Boca Raton became their winter home.”
While splitting time between her New Jersey and Florida homes, Mrs. Brody embraced the Jewish communities of each.
After her husband’s death at 88 in 2009, Mrs. Brody developed an interest in bridge, which she played nearly daily.
“She was a beautiful, elegant, philanthropic woman who truly lived life on her own terms,” Brody Levow said. “We will all miss her very much.”
In addition to her daughter, Florence Brody is survived by her son, Marc Robert Brody, and his wife, Carleen; son-in-law, Alan Levow; grandchildren Jake Levow, Cary Levow and Justine Brody; and sister-in-law, Marian Soled, and her husband, Myron.