In memoriam: Early FFRF volunteer Liz Uhr ‘felt strongly about the mission’

This photo from about 1966 shows Liz Uhr with her sons, Frank and Steve.
Liz Uhr is shown here with her son Frank and her three granddaughters.

FFRF Lifetime Member Elizabeth (Liz) Uhr died Jan. 9 in Minneapolis at the age of 90 after suffering a stroke on Jan. 3.

Elizabeth Stern was born on Dec. 23, 1929, in Washington, D.C., to Malcka (Razavsky) and Boris Stern. She and her sister, Naomi Rovner, grew up in D.C. She attended Swarthmore College, earning a B.A. in English literature in 1952. She married Leonard Uhr on July 1, 1949, and they moved to Ann Arbor, Mich. They had two boys, Frank and Steve. They moved to Madison, Wis., where both Liz and Len worked at the University of Wisconsin. Liz was an editor at the Institute for Research on Poverty and active with FFRF, Women’s Medical Fund and Planned Parenthood. Liz wrote fiction, including the novel Partly Cloudy and Cooler, published by Harcourt, Brace and World.

After Len’s death in 2000, Liz moved to Hawaii to be near her son, Frank. Liz enjoyed Hawaii and was active with the Hawaii Dog Park, enjoyed hiking, flowers and had many friends. In May of 2019, she moved to Masonic Care Home in Bloomington, Minn., close to her son Steve.

“Liz was very dear to me,” wrote Tamara Uhr, Liz’s daughter-in-law. “I have been married to Frank for nearly 30 years and Liz has been so wonderful to me. We spent many summers in Madison in the early 1990s and I remembered she loved volunteering at the Women’s Medical Fund and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She took it very seriously and didn’t want to skip a shift. She felt strongly about the mission and the people she worked with.

“She donated her body to University of Wisconsin Medical School, but when she moved to Hawaii, she did it for the medical school here,” Tamara continued. “Her instructions were no ceremony, no funeral, no obituary, and if cremation remains get returned, she wanted them scattered in the Pacific Ocean.” 

Liz’s friend Jan Blakeslee of Madison said: “She was a woman of principle, a writer, mother, devoted friend and dog-walking companion of many years. She is missed.”

Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, said she, too, will miss her, but happily will be reminded of her every spring.

“Liz was an avid gardener, and I and other area friends still have popping up in in early spring some of the miniature irises she shared around, a fascinating mix of brown, blue, yellow and orange,” Gaylor said. “She was an absolutely lovely, gentle, supportive individual — but fierce in her support for reproductive rights and freedom from religion.”