Brooklyn Daily Eagle
For many decades, transplanted Texan Martha (Marty) Rubin was a gracious leading figure in Brooklyn cultural and educational life. She died peacefully in her sleep on Feb. 7, 2017 at her home in Brooklyn Heights.
She was born on March 2, 1932 in Fort Worth, Texas, to Homer Hastings Adams (geologist and reader of Darwin) and Mildred Grizzard (who discovered her business acumen and respect for nature later in life). Her younger sister, Jane Breed, died in 2004. Marty grew up in Abilene, Texas; her curious spirit and drive to learn drew her outside the prairie. She studied at Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West, then at Occidental College from where she graduated in 1954. She attended the graduate business program at Radcliffe in 1955, where she met her husband, Robert (Bob) Rubin. Later in life she completed a master’s degree in anthropology at CUNY in New York City. She was adoring of and adored by her husband, her four children Rebecca, David, James and Nathaniel (Margaret Lee) and her seven grandchildren Malika, Hannah, Willow, Sophia, Harry, Benjamin and last but not least, Rose. Her warm home and embracing love bound her family together.
Marty was born an adventurer and a progressive. She lived and loved in Brooklyn for almost 60 years, and endeavored to make it a better place. Education, the environment and equality were her battlegrounds. She and Bob were one of the founding families of Saint Ann’s School, where she taught anthropology and later advocated for more student body diversity. As a longtime board member of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, she championed sound environmental practices. She started and nurtured the Brooklyn Cultural Adventure Program (BCAP) that united the Botanic Garden with the Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Prospect Park and the Prospect Park Zoo in offering summer programs for a diverse group of children.
In a special tribute to her, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden trustees, staff and volunteers released a statement calling Marty “Trustee Extraordinaire for nearly four decades…” She was one of the Garden’s earliest “Green Champions,” advocating for organic horticultural practices and composting as far back as the early 1970s.
Another of her great loves was working in her organic garden in Cornwall Hollow, Connecticut. Her book “Countryside, Garden and Table,” wove together her thoughts and ideas about gardening, cooking and anthropology. In Connecticut her respect and awe for nature and beauty blossomed, and continues to blossom in her gardens. For all who knew her, “Marty brought grace, love, and passion to everything and everyone she touched.”
A memorial service celebrating her life will be held on Sunday, April 2 at noon in the Palm House at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave.
— Published in The New York Times on Feb. 12, 2017