Orlando Philanthropist Harriet Lake Dies

An icon of central Florida has passed.

Officials say Orlando area philanthropist Harriet Lake died Tuesday at Florida Hospital-Altamonte.

She was 96-years-old. 

According to documents chronicling her life, Lake was born Harriet Tuck, in Pennsylvania, in April of 1922.

Her biography notes that her path to Orlando began with a stint in the U.S. Marines, in 1943, where she enlisted after growing concerns over Antisemitism in Europe.

She served in the Marines as a payroll sergeant in California. 

Upon leaving the service, she moved to Miami Beach, where she met in synagogue Hymen Lake.

The two of them were married in south Florida, and moved to the Orlando area in the early 1960s.

Lake settled in, helping her husband in his business while furthering her own education and engaging in a passion for style.

That passion would light a fire that became a devotion to the local arts and humanities scene.

Harriet's Charitable Trust and Harriet's Closet are two organizations well known to Orlando's philanthropic circles.

She made local headlines in May of this year with a $5 million donation to the Orlando Ballet.

Lake also was known for her generosity with causes that ranged from Jewish causes, children's causes, health-associated charities, and the arts.

Lake is survived by her children, one of whom owns an art gallery in Winter Park.


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