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In Memoriam Mary Cantor


The community mourns the passing of Mary Cantor, a devoted community servant and educator, who spent most of her life trying to make the world, especially the Richmond community, a better place for all.

For more than two decades, Mary Cantor was a fixture at the Jewish Community Center Preschool (now called The Dora L. Lewis Family and Child Development Center). Although she was initially hired as a Nursery school teacher in 1963, she later rose to Director, leading the school through a period of growth and change. Generations of toddlers and preschoolers had their introduction to education under Mary’s solid guidance. Mary provided a safe and loving environment for Jewish children, as well as non-Jewish children, and their families.

Leadership and Dedication

Her leadership and dedication during her tenure were instrumental in spearheading initiatives that served young children and their families. Under her leadership, the preschool became accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and grew to become the premier all-day preschool in the Richmond area.

Donna Peters, Early Childhood Director at the Preschool since 1987, shared, “Mary hired me to teach in 1981 and she became a mentor to me, a friend and a role model. Mary’s keen vision and understanding of early childhood development helped the preschool to grow in many ways. Mary’s dedication to children and families made a deep and lasting impact on the lives of hundreds and hundreds of children.”

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, please consider an investment in our future by donating to The Mary Cantor Preschool Fund at the Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Avenue, Richmond, Va. 23226.

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