Miriam Atkins nee Stein
  • 85 years old
  • Date of birth: Jan 9, 1929
  • Place of birth:
    Cape Town, South Africa
  • Date of passing: Jun 14, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Portland, Oregon, United States
May her memory be a blessing ----------- זכרונה לברכה
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Miriam Atkins nee Stein, 85, born on January 9, 1929 and passed away on June 14, 2014. We will remember her forever.
Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by patricia ahlfs on 17th June 2016

"My dear Miriam...these past few days, I've been wondering what advice you might offer to those of us who used to sit around the table in your Sou'wester kitchen, who are processing the unfathomable tragedies and fear mongering in our country. While I chose the candle to honor you, perhaps--in a roundabout way--I'm asking you to light the way for us who could use your wisdom."

This tribute was added by Jonathan Feinn on 14th June 2016

"Dearest Miriam,
You're in my thoughts and prayers today on the 2nd anniversary of your passing. Your sweetness, love and kindness are very much a part of me.
I miss your beautiful spirit.

This tribute was added by Rabbis Gary and Laurie on 14th June 2016


We miss your gentle strength, your careful wisdom, your kind and loving heart, your attention to what was always most important in life, your ability to focus and to help us focus.  With love, we remember you."

This tribute was added by Laurie Anderson on 10th January 2016

"I lit not just a virtual candle, but a real candle for you Miriam, and held it in my gaze for the longest time, remembering you. Your loving and kind spirit shines on, and I will always value our friendship."

This tribute was added by patricia ahlfs on 9th January 2016

"Miriam, I think that you'd be pleased to know that Nick gave me the book, "Miriam's Kitchen" for Christmas. Naturally, I thought of you...remembering you in your Sou'Wester kitchen. Your spirit is still very much in my heart."

This tribute was added by Steen Halling on 29th July 2015

"Miriam was such a treasure, as are you Len. I remember with much fondness visits and talks with you both at the SouWester. Those were special times and I so much appreciate the hospitality you provided there."

This tribute was added by Sybil Castle on 17th June 2015

"Dear Len and family
Our thoughts are with you - the yaartzeit of your beloved Miriam.
What a remarkable woman. What a wonderful role model.
She made the world a better place. I will always remember her smile, her warmth, her compassion - although I only met her twice. May her dear soul rest in peace."

This tribute was added by patricia ahlfs on 15th June 2015

"Thinking about you and Len... Nick and are I treasure the times we spent with you at the Sou'wester. It was an honor and a privilege to know you. Your presence, dear Miriam, clearly lives on in fond memories from all of us who knew you."

This tribute was added by Harmony Frazier on 14th June 2015

Just hearing your name again brings an immediate smile to my face and a happy humming.  I still see your smile, feel your hug and know your love of all of us!  You are the best!!
Love always,

This tribute was added by Pamela Mattson McDonald on 14th June 2015

"I will never forget your model of compassion, patience, acceptance and hospitality. Your winning smile or wise council. I bless you every day Miriam."

This tribute was added by Nina Joy Lawrence on 14th June 2015

"When Miriam and I focused together , either in person or by internet using Skype chat due to her hearing, her main concern was being present, being in Presence.  I'm holding her in Presence now, in love.  I remember seeking her out when I found she shared my interest in Focusing, visiting her there on Long Beach, her welcome at the Sou'wester, and our planning together the first Northwest Focusing Gathering there.  Those beginnings have grown into 8 years of yearly wonderful gatherings and now this group is putting on an international conference for all the focusers in the world!  What a gift to be nurtured by Miriam's warmth."

This tribute was added by patricia ahlfs on 15th January 2015

"Miriam and family,
Last week, prior to the notice about Miriam's birthday, I was recalling our many visits to the Sou'Wester and the lovely welcome Nick and I received each time from Len and Miriam. Although I was unaware that Miriam's birthday was this month, I think that her powerful and nurturing spirit sent out the message, a hello to all who loved and respected her so much. While we have not returned since you moved to Portland, the memories of all of those times spent still linger and provide sustenance.
You will not be forgotten!
Patti & Nick"

This tribute was added by James Cherewatenko on 9th January 2015

"Dearest Miriam,

Happy Birthday. I think of you (and Len) often. We will always miss stopping by to see you when we have the opportunity to be in Long Beach. We will miss the tea, tasty tidbits and meaningful conversation that was always in the offing.

Jim, Viki and Lane"

This tribute was added by Rabbis Gary and Laurie on 9th January 2015

"Dear Miriam,

In the rustling wind through evergreens, we miss you.  We miss your kindness, your passion for life and love, your heart, your soulful attention to the details of caring for people.  We will always be richer for having been touched so many times as you encouraged our dreams and shared your empathy.  You soul is still very dear to us.  May your loving family and friends be comforted in their mourning.  May they be inspired by your memory to find ways to be giving, loving, caring, empathetic like you were for us and for so many.  With love,
Rabbis Gary and Laurie"

This tribute was added by Pamela Mattson McDonald on 9th January 2015

"Miriam's life reminds me to hold love uppermost in my actions. To listen actively and practice compassion. For her, to take the road less traveled was a valid option. Bless her contribution to the human experience!"

This tribute was added by James Cherewatenko on 24th August 2014

"Len and family,

Sorry to be so tardy in response. It was with a mixture of sadness and joy that I read the email my wife Viki received earlier this summer regarding Miriam' passing. I, my wife Viki and our daughter Lane continue to have the fondest of memories of her. I started visiting The Souwester in August of 1988 ( cottage #7)and returned yearly until 1998 when we purchased our own cottage in Longbeach. We, nonetheless, visited Len and Miriam each August and at other visits over the following years. I especially remember managing/ running the Souwester one December for a couple weeks so that the two lovebirds could complete their trip to Joshua Tree that had been interrupted when they came across the Souwester on their way to California years earlier. I especially enjoyed tea and snacks in the kitchen with the two of them while disussing a wide variety of topics including societal issues, teaching, medicine, etc. I'm sure Len misses her each and every day.  Miriam, rest in a furthering of the peace I think you enjoyed throughout your life on earth. Len, our sympathies are with you and your family. With love, Jim, Viki and Lane Cherewatenko"

This tribute was added by Gila Abrahamson on 14th July 2014

"Dearest Len and family,
So sad to hear of Miriam's passing.  We always thought of her so very fondly during all the years we knew her.  Jack, of course, knew you Len from Cape Town days and we added Miriam to our list of very special people, first meeting you both in Israel in those early days, then in Chicago where we visited you, and finally at the wonderful Sou'wester where we joined in and enjoyed a heartwarming stay some years ago.  And always thought of visiting again some day...It was a unique setting for a warm and loving couple - and the people around responded with love and gratitude to the atmosphere of "the good life" which together you radiated.  We will continue to think of lovely Miriam with deep appreciation and love."

This tribute was added by Harmony Frazier on 10th July 2014

"Thinking of you Dear Len and your dear, dear Miriam.
What a wonderful, kind, joyful lady she was.  I smile just thinking about her and always will.  She was always so sweet to me and I always felt instantly calm when I was with her.  She did the nicest things for folks that came to stay at the Sou"Wester.  I remember when I brought my very special Dog to stay in #10 and Miriam left out biscuits and welcomed my Bonnie to to her special cabin!  I loved to bring special foods to share with Miriam and remember a special love she had for sugar wafers.

I will keep her and her spirit in my heart and try to remember to be a bit more like her whenever I am able.
A truly amazing spirit and what an Amazing Lady.



This tribute was added by Kim Angelis on 6th July 2014

"Miriam had a heart as big as the sky. She embraced us in her wisdom, and held us in her warmth. Even though occasions to talk with her were rare, I felt like I'd known her "forever". Her genuine interest in the lives and concerns of others was exceptional; anyone who spent time with Miriam came away feeling better about themselves. I am so sorry for your loss, Len. With love and gratitude we hold you in our hearts."

This tribute was added by maggie smith on 3rd July 2014

"Like hundreds of others, perhaps thousands, I first met Len and sweet Miriam when I was a guest at the Sou'Wester. Like all those others, it took about six minutes for me to change from "guest" to "family," Even after I purchased my home in Ocean Park,I continued to visit the Sou'Wester, to get a hug from Miriam, and to attend the wonderful concerts they arranged. I have a picture in my mind, even now, of Miriam, sitting quietly on the sidelines, smiling her soft smile, as Len entertained us with his droll commentary on the musicians, on the weather, on shore birds, on life. I never knew anyone with such a big heart. What a privilege to know her."

This tribute was added by Sarah Rosenthal on 26th June 2014

"Miriam played an important role in my angst-ridden teen years in Chicago. As Zivit's high school friend, I spent lots of time at the Atkins' apartment, eating and preparing meals, participating in seders filled with fun children's songs and games, and yakking for hours at the kitchen table. Miriam was so easy to bond with. Her lilting accent and warm smile charmed me. Even when Zivit left for Israel Miriam and I continued our own friendship--taking a drawing class on the North Side with a funny, gifted Art Institute grad student in her spacious apartment (Smadar, did you take that class too?) and getting together downtown for lunch. She made me feel seen, appreciated, at a time when I needed that. And I can tell she did that for a lot of people. Zivit tells me that Miriam continued developing her Focusing skills into her late years. I find that so impressive--that ongoing commitment to self development, which need not stop, and in her case never did. She had fantastic values and she lived them. I feel so blessed to have known her."

This tribute was added by Sally Edelist on 25th June 2014

"Dearest Miriam was always loving, warm, open, and optimistic.  I will sorely miss her.  I can only imagine what a terrible loss this will be to you, Len and Zivit and Smadar.  Is there a charity that you and Miriam would want to commemorate that Aryeh and I can donate to.  We all go back such a long way from our youth and I never saw Miriam in a bad mood or angry.  We loved her and always will think of her with joy.  Sally and Aryeh"

This tribute was added by Charles Smith on 25th June 2014

"Very sad to hear of Miriam's passing. I first went to the Souwester in January of 2004 with my then wife, 3 year old son and 2 month old newborn daughter. From that moment on Miriam and Len were family. I suspect a lot of families felt the same way over the years. Needless to say we kept going back. Miriam always wanted to see the kids and enjoyed watching them grow. Her kindness was never interrupted by a bad day or the ails of the world, she was always wonderful. My heartfelt thoughts go out to Len and the rest of the family, including that guitar playing grandson or nephew who wooed my stepdaughters in the living room over the course of a couple of nights with his great guitar work and singing."

This tribute was added by Debbie Blombery on 24th June 2014

"Miriam, my beautiful auntie, has always been an inspiration to me.

She radiated warmth and intelligence, she was kind and loving, she always had time for her family, friends and anyone who was fortunate enough to come into contact with her.  She nurtured her relationships, always remained interested and interesting.

And Miriam was never afraid to be a bit different, a quality for which I have the greatest respect, and which I will always aspire to, even though I may not be as successful.

Miriam, lovely Auntie Miriam, I will never forget your smiling face, I will treasure my memories of you.  You have not left us.  You will remain forever in the hearts and minds of all those you touched.

My heartfelt condolences go to my dearest Uncle Len (another inspirational person), my wonderful cousins Smadar and Zivit, and your families.

With fondest love
Debbie, Ron and family"

This tribute was added by Jan Hodgman on 23rd June 2014

"Wow, what a terrific human being!
Miriam exemplified an expansive life-forward energy, contagious to all who came into her presence. I first came to know Miriam through Focusing connections, as she was a friend of my mentor Reva Bernstein. Then the Sou'wester hosted our first NW gathering, and we had the great delight of meeting Len and Miriam in their roles of innkeepers, raconteurs, listeners and all-around huge-hearted humans par excellence.
Deep bows of gratitude for the way you enriched my life, Miriam, and great wishes of equanimity and peace to you, Len, and your entire family."

This tribute was added by bria chakofsky-lewy on 22nd June 2014

"To have known Miriam was a blessing. Her warmth, her kindness and her wisdom nourished me. She was and will remain a model to me as a woman, a wife, and a mother. Len and Zivit, I send my love. I send my heartfelt sympathy to your entire family."

This tribute was added by Charlie Becker on 22nd June 2014

"I treasure knowing Miriam and Len just a bit...they infused the Sou'Wester with a zany creative energy and we all enjoyed the creative and joyous surprises...evenings in the Lodge room...deeply warm person Miriam was...she danced and was delighted to hear my shy Mandolin in the SouWester Lodge Room...encouraging embracing...and...
Len I do miss your insightful zany missives...all the best to the family and community of friends of Miriam Atkins...Charlie Becker"

This tribute was added by Sybil Castle on 22nd June 2014

"We were saddened to hear of the passing on of Miriam. We met Miriam and Len in Cape Town some years back through their friendship with our cousin Ann. We immediately  were struck by their warmth, wisdom  and sincerity and kept in touch all the years. I loved receiving their ramblings and forwarded them to friends to share and enjoy.
They were a  great source of strength and comfort  to Ann especially during her illness - which we as her family appreciated so much.. She wrote about their kindness and hospitality when she celebrated the Jewish festivals with them. I was fortunate enough to reconnect  with them when I visited Sea View three years ago. On that occasion I also met Sivit which was an added pleasure. Dearest Len and family -  please accept our sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathy on the loss of your beloved Miriam. "A woman of worth" - a true " Eyshet Chayil" . May her dear soul rest in peace."

This tribute was added by trudy barash on 21st June 2014

"Our hearts are filled with despair.The beautifully written, comprehensive summary of Miriam's life seemed, in so many ways, to capture her essence. It was comforting to know that she was supported by family and dear friends during her last days.

My intense, joyful history with Miriam began in Chicago when I was 27 and she was 36 and lasted three blessed years as co-kindergarten teachers at the Solomon Schechter Day School. Can you imagine my luck to have fallen in with her--to have been able to observe this master teacher up close? What I saw above all every day, every year, in every possible situation was innate 'graciousness'. She taught me 'graciousness'. I could cry when I remember her kneeling beside a child and using just the right words to comfort him or her--or remembering how she was able to relieve a distraught parent of one concern or another. Simply by observing her, I know I became a better parent to my five, three and one year old at the time. I remember marveling at the sage comments she would make about children as we ate lunch sitting on low chairs in our classroom. Being able to teach with Miriam was nothing short of a free tutorial. And then, to think she brought me (us) home to meet Len, Smadar and that lovely apartment with the glass beads hanging down in front of Zivit's (?) bedroom..and the glowing warmth of the family (Oh, my!).

Of course, we visited Miriam and Len at The Sou'Wester, as our children did, and once again came within their rare embrace of caring.

Miriam couldn't possibly have known the extent to which she influenced the person I became later in life, but every interaction I've had over the years (or will have) is colored by her innate empathy--empathy was her genius, and that genious inevitably led to graciousness.

We love you and grieve for you all.

Trudy and Harvey"

This tribute was added by veronica shillitto on 21st June 2014

"Our deepest sympathy to Len and his family.
As a family we have wonderful memories of holidays at the Sou'wester. It was not summer for my son if he had not ridden his bike on at Sea'view. We were always welcomed warmly by Len and Miriam. We have shared with them some of our ups and downs through our lives and have been comforted by their support. I remember Miriam as a warm and loving person. Mostly I thought of her as a person of great integrity. I chose to light a candle as it represents the light and joy Miriam's quiet presence brought to the world."

This tribute was added by Trudy Rosemarin on 20th June 2014

"Miriam,yourtouch, your smile could wipe away tension and worries. What a blessing you were to us. Your food nourished body and soul and the discussions around the dinner table were priceless. My fondest memory of Miriam was when we gave Zivit a ride from Seattle to the Sou'Wester. You had experienced an accident and were in a really sad state. Miriam, your loving Mom did not ask any questions. She tucked you in, sat on your bed and softly played the recorder til you were asleep.
Dearest Len, we share your loss. We will be with you in thought on Sunday. 2 of our granddaughters have dance performances so we will not be able to travel to Portland. Know, that you are all in our hearts and minds"

This tribute was added by Janet Waller on 19th June 2014

"Our son was four years old in 1975 when we first met the very special Miriam--his first teacher and first " love".  She welcomed him and me!
What a blessing to have Miriam as your very first teacher!!!  She taught all of my family by her warmth, acceptance and love.  A MOTHER to us all!  She shared her whole family with us and we were the better for it.
What a model mother and teacher!  Henry and I feel your loss."

This tribute was added by K Bryant on 19th June 2014

"The memories I made with Torsten at the Sou'Wester are priceless and Len and Miriam were at the cornerstone of those memories.  You always felt like kin to me (as I know you did to many others).  I learned so much from Miriam in those years.  I especially loved her open heart to Torsten.  I was always very aware the memories he would take with him growing up knowing you and the Sou'Wester, would be some of the best memories a child could have.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of that.  I cherish the memories of sitting in front of the fireplace listening to the hustle and bustle of the two of you between the office and the kitchen.  You were and are both so, so kind.  All our love, Kristina and Torsten"

This tribute was added by Gus Ilana on 19th June 2014

"Miryummaleh - a life of cheerful love, always a joy to be together. a memory we'll cherish as long as we breathe. What a priviledge to have known you! We'll tell Avigail our two-year old grand-daughter, the next generation, all about you and how you enjoyed the photos of her entry into our lives."

This tribute was added by Ellen Elis on 19th June 2014

"Dearest Family of Miriam,

I loved her much, and delighted in her stories, her laughter, and her offers to help me as I struggled with my own family turmoil.  A wise woman, she was.  I am grateful for the time we spent together, and regret I missed opportunities to spend more time with her.  

Len, for you.  I am so sorry for the loss of your life partner.  I can only imagine the vast void into which you must feel you have been thrust.   Not much consolation, but the whole community of Miriam fans are grieving with you.

all my love to you and yours.


This tribute was added by Pamela Mattson McDonald on 18th June 2014

"t takes time to heal from such a powerful example of women.
Miriam sustained me with support for my ceramics career. She offered me food when I was at the Sou'wester. She offer the bathhouse of the "trailer park", when the home Jon Ducharme and I were building, had a bath in disarray for a year!

I got gallery shows from guests she encouraged to look at my work, during their vacation, to be in displays in their galleries. I came to get advice and she fed me both culinarily and in spirit. She told me how fine my ceramic work was and encouraged me to follow my heart.

I too had a fabulous mother, different from Miriam, but sharing many of the same qualities. She transformed eight years ago. I've come to grips with her passing, but I'm dancing on with her convictions and ideals of compassion, personal growth, thoughtfulness and creativity.

It takes time to heal from such a powerful example of women. Now I'm a writer of mystery on iTunes books.  Miriam would be proud of me."

This tribute was added by Jonathan Feinn on 18th June 2014

"It is in great sadness that I mourn the loss of my dear friend of nearly 50 years, my very sweet Miriam. I feel privileged to have enjoyed such a meaningful and enduring friendship with both Len and Miriam and their family. I remember with deep appreciation the many happy occasions we shared together and am grateful for those times when we were able to speak so openly of our respective uncertainties and fears which challenge all of us during our lifetime. It is with enormous admiration that I saw over the years the solidity of Len and Miriam’s relationship and their deep commitment to one another.
I will never forget the warmth and love so openly expressed to me by Miriam at the time I shared with her that I was a gay man.
Miriam was a woman of great depth who brought happiness and joy to all of us who loved her.
She will be sadly missed. May her memory be an inspiration and a blessing for all."

This tribute was added by Ed Hartman on 18th June 2014

"My condolences to Len, Zivit and the entire family.  I appreciate all of the time I had with all of you.  Miriam was one of the warmest and sharpest persons I have met in my life.  She will be dearly missed, I know.  My heartfelt wishes to everyone in the family."

This tribute was added by sandra coffman on 18th June 2014

"My thoughts are with Len and the family and their wide community of friends as we all mourn Miriam's passing.  And celebrate her great spirit and adventurous life.  David Hutchinson and I spent the first of many week ends with Len and Miriam on the first week end they opened the Sou'Wester.  Their warmth and the breadth of their conversation drew us back for years, taking our sons Kevin and Sean with us.  Miriam welcomed us all.  Our large extended chosen family later spent several Thanksgiving week ends together with she and Len, talking and eating long into the evenings.  I feel blessed to have know her and Len over the years and miss her already.  Peace to all."

This tribute was added by Beth Kolle on 18th June 2014

"Jack and I were guests at Sou'wester Lodge starting in the early 1990s. Len and Miriam were always so welcoming, so eager for new knowledge and discussion. We love the new owners, but also miss seeing Len and Miriam. I am so sad to hear of Miriam's passing. She was a dear and sweet soul. Our deepest condolences to Len and the whole family from Beth and Jack Kollé, and our children, Lily and Reijer."

This tribute was added by patricia ahlfs on 18th June 2014

"Our dear Miriam... In April of 1983, Nick and I registered for the 1st of many stays over the years in Cabin #7. You and Len always greeted us warmly-- forever interested in our lives and sharing so much of yours with us. It was always with joy and anticipation that we arrived at the Sou'Wester to be refreshed by the easy and far-ranging conversation. Miriam, so many memories about you this morning. Always steady and strong, we admired you so much. Your smile, twinkling eyes, and soft-spoken nature nurtured us over the years. We are grateful to have know you: an extraordinary woman! --Patti & Nick"

This tribute was added by Vita Otrubova on 18th June 2014

"Dear Miriam,
I got the news about your crossing over in Praha and will not be able to come to celebrate your life with your family and friends. I will always remember your lovely smile and the sparkles in your eyes. I will always remember how you made me, and then, my family welcomed and made SouWester our home away from our home for 25 years!"

This tribute was added by Nina Joy Lawrence on 18th June 2014

"Oh Miriam!  I came looking for her, after seeing her name in the Focusing Institute Members list, and wanting to meet other Focusers in the Northwest US.  We began to connect in 2006, and by 2007 she and Len hosted the first Northwest Focusing Gathering at the Sou'wester.  Opening the door to what comes in me all about Miriam, these qualities surface:  warmth, welcome, personal connection, quirky humor, generosity, able to share vulnerability, creating inviting environments... and more.  
I had a hard time paying for lodging at Sou'wester.  I'd come to visit with my husband or my mom. Miriam and I would do some focusing and we'd eat a meal all together in their kitchen.  I'd want to pay like any customer, and often Miriam and Len would say no, that we were guests this time.  
After they moved to Portland Miriam and I would get together there to do focusing in person, but mostly we would meet on Skype, and type-chat our focusing sessions, to get around Miriam's hearing challenges.  It worked very well.  I feel blessed to have been a partner in inner exploration with this wonderful human being, Miriam Atkins."

This tribute was added by Joe Suchman on 18th June 2014

"I will always remember Miriam as such a warm and loving person and one who I was lucky enough to have gotten to know, and learn from, over these past years that I was visiting with  both she and Len. She will always have a place in my heart. I remember on my visits to she and Len, spending time at the Sou'wester with her, going over thoughts of life and learning from her different ideas and I will always treasure her wisdom, and love she gave to me. I will miss you Miriam."

This tribute was added by Anne Pitkin on 18th June 2014

"Dear Miriam always made me feel especially welcome at the SouWester.   The last time I was there, she came out to my cabin in the middle of the night because a friend of mine had called the main office.  A frivolous call, it turned out.  She did not give any indication that she was put out--as she must have been.  Many's the time I've sat in that wonderful kitchen with Len and Miriam who treated me like an old, treasured friend.  I miss the two of them very much and am so very sad that Miriam is no longer in this world."

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This memorial is administered by:

david karlin
Smadar Atkins-English
Zivit Atkins


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