Lifecycles | Obituaries

Elise Gilden

Elise B. Gilden, 101, died Dec. 16, 2018.

A native Chicagoan, Mrs. Gilden lived in Tucson for over 40 years. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in art history, and in her 50s received a master’s in special education from Roosevelt University in Chicago. As an artist, she worked with pastels and sculpture, and went into schools until the age of 85, showing children how to work with clay. She was also a docent at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. As an educator, she worked as a consultant for parents and children with learning disabilities, also serving as a witness in state court cases where learning problems were an issue in a child’s life. She fought for state funding for these children and served on the boards of learning disabilities organizations in Chicago and Tucson.  Mrs. Gilden was married to Harold Gilden for 50 years. A great-grandniece of Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah, she was a life member of Hadassah and a member of ORT and the National Council of Jewish Women. She donated a Torah to Congregation Kol Haneshamah, which was active in Northwest Tucson from 2000-2003. The Torah is now used by the Institute for Jewish Services and Studies in Saddlebrooke. Previously Mrs. Gilden and her husband were members of Temple Emanu-El in Tucson and Kehilath Anshe Ma’ariv and Congregation Solel in Chicago. 

Mrs. Gilden was predeceased by her husband, Harold, and daughter, Alexandra Kaplan.

Survivors include her daughters Dorrie Iten of Zurich, Switzerland, and Jan Gilden of Sarasota, Florida; three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Private services were held.

Memorial contributions may be made to Arizona Public Media at