Louis “Lou” Isaacson was born on January 20, 1934 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Stan and Jerene Isaacson. He had one younger brother, Bob. Lou’s family moved to Washington, D.C. in 1940 after his father got a job with the Navy. He went to elementary and high school in D.C. He studied chemistry at the University of Maryland and then physical chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Phyllis Wolfson Isaacson was born on May 17, 1938 in Boston, Massachusetts to parents Leonard and Beth Wolfson. She has one younger sister, Norma. Phyllis grew up in Boston. She fondly remembers playing the piano for many high school shows and plays; her favorite was Annie Get Your Gun, which, at the time, was very popular on Broadway. After high school, Phyllis attended Boston University, where she majored in music, piano performance, and music education. She then attended the New England Conservatory of Music for her degree in conducting.
Phyllis and Lou met on a blind date after he moved to Boston. Two friends of theirs, who were a couple, set them up. They were married in 1959 in the Boston area. It was a big wedding and lots of family and friends attended. They have two children, Ronald and Karen, and four grandchildren: Elena, Steven, Andrew, and Jessica. In their years together, they have lived in Lexington, Massachusetts, the D.C./Maryland area, and Vermont. They moved to California in 2011 to be closer to their daughter and family who live in Davis.
After his time at MIT, Lou became a chemist. He did everything from basic research, to fieldwork, to product development. Phyllis became a professional pianist and conductor. Her job allowed her to travel all over the world. She even got to conduct at Notre-Dame de Paris! The first tour she led, which became one of the most memorable, was in Israel; while there, she was invited to conduct and teach at the Israel Kibbutz Choir. She spent a year conducting and teaching in Israel. She also spent six weeks teaching in Athens, Greece.
While Phyllis was living in Athens, Lou flew over and they were able to do some sightseeing together. They also enjoyed a memorable cross-country road trip; they drove across the entire United States, east to west, and then back again. Later, while their son-in-law was working for the University of Adelaide, in Australia, they were able to visit Australia and New Zealand.
Both Phyllis and Lou believe in trying new things. As such, they both learned to ski in their late 60s. They would like to be remembered for their positive influence, especially on their grandchildren. They cherish the opportunities they have had to mentor people and help others find themselves. Lou describes himself as intense, curious, and helpful. Phyllis describes herself as a musician, mother, and mentor.
Their favorite meal is lobster and their second favorite choice is clams. Lou loves chocolate anything for dessert and Phyllis loves blueberry buckle. His favorite scent is cooking food, hers is the smell of a crisp winter morning just after it has snowed. Here at Carlton Davis, they love meeting new people.
Lou most admires Harry Truman, as he was honest, a student of history, and he had the ability to sort things out. Phyllis most admires Leon Barzin, one of her teachers. She believes that, of her teachers, he had the most influence on her. He gave her great tips that helped with her development.
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Written by Ben Slade, Resident Liaison at Carlton Senior Living Davis