Florence Pollikoff

Nov. 12, 1926 - Dec. 29, 2013
Florence Pollikoff,  Nov. 12, 1926 - Dec. 29, 2013

       Florence Pollikoff, a longtime resident of the Amagansett Lanes and a former New York City teacher, died at home in East Hampton on Dec. 29. She was 87 and had been ill with cancer for several months.

       Ms. Pollikoff was a “serious student of Buddhism,” according to a friend, Hope Mulholland of Amagansett. At the Ocean Zendo in Sagaponack, a group gathered on Tuesday for a meditation session in Ms. Pollikoff’s memory, and her passing was acknowledged during services at the zendo last weekend.

       She was born on Nov. 12, 1926, in Queens, a daughter of Saul and Sadie Kaden. After attending Queens College, she graduated from Hunter College in Manhattan with a master’s degree, and went to work for the city public schools as a special education teacher in Harlem.

       She left that job after 20 years when multiple sclerosis made it too difficult for her to work.

       Ms. Pollikoff married early, becoming the wife of Max Pollikoff, a violinist, in her late teens. Mr. Pollikoff had a serious concert and studio career, and his wife supported him in his work, said the couple’s son, Anthony Jay Pollikoff of East Hampton.

       They lived on Manhattan’s West Side, near Central Park, but early on bought a house on Hedges Lane, which they would visit on weekends and in summer.

       In East Hampton, Ms. Pollikoff helped her husband arrange benefit concerts that raised money to equip the music department at a brand-new East Hampton High School, and for other causes, including the Amagansett Historical Society’s Miss Amelia’s Cottage. Mr. Pollikoff died in 1984.

       Ms. Pollikoff regularly attended the Ocean Zendo until it became too difficult; her illness had confined her to a wheelchair for two decades.

       “She was a very elegant woman, and quite beautiful,” Ms. Mulholland said. Despite her physical challenges, “she always maintained a kind of dignity that we were in awe of,” she said.

       For 20 years, Ms. Pollikoff, Ms. Mulholland, and two other women formed the core of a meditation group that gathered weekly at Ms. Pollikoff’s house. “We’re known familiarly as ‘the Buddha girls,’ ” Ms. Mulholland said this week.

       Ms. Pollikoff enjoyed cooking and painting with watercolors, doing figure drawings and still lifes, said her son. She was close to and well loved by a number of longtime friends.

       Besides her son, with whom she lived in East Hampton for the last three years, Ms. Pollikoff is survived by a sister, Thelma Kaufman of Manhattan, and two granddaughters.

       She was cremated, and a service is planned for a later date. Memorial contributions have been suggested to the American Cancer Society at P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City Okla. 73123-1718, or cancer.org.