Longboat, Sarasota say “goodbye” to Bea Friedman

Editor & Publisher

A local legend who left her mark through generosity as well as sheer force of character has left us.

Beatrice Friedman died Thursday in Sarasota at the age of 98.

Friedman gave millions of dollars to local organizations including the Jewish Federation of Sarasota/Manatee as well as the Sarasota Orchestra.

In many ways, her support of the orchestra elevated the organization into a nationally-recognized venue and the Symphony Center bears her name.

Friedman was born and raised in New York City, and moved to Sarasota from Chicago with her husband, Allan. She vacationed to Longboat Key for many years prior to moving and enjoyed the Sarasota Orchestra as a visitor years before becoming one of its primary benefactors. Friedman donated $1 million in 1996, which immediately elevated the stature and quality of the venue. Countless friends both in Sarasota and Longboat would gather at her L’Ambiance penthouse on Longboat Key over the years before she moved to downtown Sarasota.

Friedman also financially supported the Asolo Reperatory Theatre, Women’s Resource Center, Sarasota Opera as well as the Sarasota Ballet.

There has been no announcement yet for a memorial service,.

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