La Jolla community mourns loss of philanthropist Audrey Geisel
Published - 01/04/19 - 03:28 PM | 14628 views | 2 2 comments | 375 375 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Audrey Geisel
Audrey Geisel
Audrey Geisel, widow of iconic children’s author Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel and steward of his literary legacy, died Dec. 19, 2018 in her Mount Soledad home at age 97.

She married Geisel, an American children’s author, political cartoonist and creator of some 60 books under the pen name “Dr. Seuss,” in 1968. 

Seuss created some of the most popular children’s books of all time, including “Green Eggs and Ham” and the “The Cat In The Hat.” His books sold more than 600 million copies and were translated into more than 20 languages during his lifetime.

Besides running Dr. Seuss Enterprises following her husband’s death from cancer in 1991 at age 87, Audrey devoted herself to philanthropy, supporting dozens of charities. 

She had a longstanding relationship with UC San Diego, donating Theodor Geisel’s personal papers to the university library, including more than 12,000 items – original drawings, manuscripts, sketches, books and other memorabilia – documenting the many creative contributions of Dr. Seuss. 

In 1995, the university’s central library was renamed the Geisel Library building to honor Theodor and Audrey Geisel, recognizing the family’s $20 million gift. 

“Audrey Geisel was a steadfast and beloved friend of the campus who will be truly missed,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “UC San Diego would not be the same top-ranked research institution it is today without her enthusiastic generosity and vast university involvement.”  

In 2013, Audrey Geisel donated $2 million for the renovation of University House, the private residence for the UC San Diego chancellor, in La Jolla Farms near the university. The historic structure and venue is now used for campus celebrations and fundraising events. It was formally renamed the “Audrey Geisel University House” honoring her.

Geisel recently donated $3 million to revitalize the interior of Geisel Library on UC San Diego campus. As part of the renovation, the library opened a café named Audrey's.

“In the short time I’ve known Audrey, she has shared with me her affection for the library, reading and all things Seussian,” said university librarian Erik Mitchell. “She passionately believed in our mission and vision, and consistently supported us, through thick and thin. Although we will miss her greatly, we are extremely fortunate that her legacy will live on in Geisel Library and through the phenomenal Dr. Seuss Collection housed in our Special Collections.”

In 1993, Audrey founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises to “protect the integrity of the Dr. Seuss books while expanding beyond books into ancillary areas.”

Dr. Seuss Enterprises oversaw several film adaptations of the late author’s work, including computer-animated adaptations of “Horton Hears a Who!” and “The Lorax,” as well as the 2000 live-action film “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” starring Jim Carrey.

Born in Chicago in 1921, Audrey Stone was raised by her mother, a Norwegian immigrant. Her father was a singer and dancer who disappeared from her life early on. She grew up living mostly with her mother or family friends.

Audrey was a nursing student at Indiana University where she met her first husband, pre-med student E. Grey Dimond. They both worked at Massachusetts General Hospital, before moving to Kansas, where their two daughters were born. Their family moved to La Jolla in 1960.

Audrey Geisel is survived by her two daughters: Lark Grey Dimond-Cates and Leagrey Dimond.

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