Natalie L. "Toby" Mendeloff was a community activist and volunteer.
Natalie L. "Toby" Mendeloff was a community activist and volunteer. (Baltimore Sun)

Natalie L. "Toby" Mendeloff, a community activist and volunteer, died Jan. 29 at Sinai Hospital of complications of the flu. She was 94.

The daughter of Henry Lavenstein, a department store owner, and Bessie Siff Lavenstein, a homemaker, Natalie Lavenstein was born and raised in Petersburg, Va., where she graduated in 1937 from Petersburg High School.


She moved to New York City, studying art for two years at New York University, and was a student of Louise Nevelson, the noted sculptor, and Ibram Lassaw, a Russian-American sculptor, at the 92nd Street YWHA.

Mrs. Mendeloff worked as a window display design assistant until her marriage in 1943 to Dr. Albert L. Mendeloff. In the late 1940s, she accompanied her husband to Greece when he was named to head the United Nations nutrition mission in the wake of the country's civil war.

They later lived in New York City and in Boston, where Dr. Mendeloff, a gastroenterologist, completed further medical training at Harvard University.

They were living in St. Louis when Dr. Mendeloff was recruited to become the first full-time chief of medicine at Sinai Hospital in 1955. They moved to Baltimore and settled in Mount Washington, where they lived for 56 years.

Mrs. Mendeloff was involved with the National Council for Jewish Women, Baltimore public schools, and numerous other community organizations, including the Maryland Lupus Foundation, of which she was a co-founder.

She also was active in the civil rights and antiwar movements. Interested in women's issues, she was a founding member of Women in Self Help (WISH) and was a founding member of the House of Ruth.

Her husband was a founder of the Shriver Hall Concert Series at the Johns Hopkins University, and after his death in 1993, she established a lecture series in his memory.

Since 2012, she had lived at Roland Park Place. She was a subscriber to the Shriver Hall Concert Series, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra. She enjoyed attending Center Stage and Everyman Theater and travel.

She was a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

Funeral services were held Feb. 1 at Sol Levinson & Bros. in Pikesville.

Mrs. Mendeloff is survived by two sons, Henry Mendeloff of Baltimore and John Mendeloff of Pittsburgh; a daughter, Katherine "Kate" Mendeloff of Ann Arbor, Mich.; and three granddaughters.