Ilene Pritikin passed away peacefully at home in Santa Barbara, surrounded by her family, at the age of 85.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois as Ilene Robbins, the youngest child of Nathan Robbins (Rabinowitz) and Rose Robbins (formerly Rose Littvack). Her parents emigrated from Russia in 1913, settling in Chicago.
A graduate of the University of Chicago, Ilene married Nathan Pritikin in 1947. Together, they raised Nathan’s son, Jack, who passed away in 1995, and their own four children, Janet, Robert, Ralph and Kenneth.
In 1957, the Pritikins moved to Santa Barbara. In 1974, Nathan published the first of several best-selling books based on his years of research into the relationship between diet and degenerative diseases. The books launched his career as a world-renowned nutritionist and popularized the then-revolutionary concept of a low fat, high fiber diet as an effective treatment for heart disease and other degenerative diseases. Nathan’s dietary views, which were initially viewed by the medical establishment as either unscientific or impractical or both, are now widely accepted by that same medical establishment as conventional wisdom. During this exciting time in their lives, Ilene acted as Nathan’s confidante, editor, and administrative assistant, and she personally oversaw the development of the recipes that were integral parts of Nathan’s books and formed the basis for the food menu for participants at the world famous Pritikin Longevity Center in Santa Monica, California.
After Nathan’s death in 1985, Ilene became a prominent citizen activist in her own right, working tirelessly for her own chosen causes, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the Coalition Against Gun Violence (formerly Santa Barbara Women Against Gun Violence), both headquartered in Santa Barbara. Ilene was the co-founder, with Toni Wellen, of the Coalition Against Gun Violence, and was a member of its Steering Committee.
Ilene is survived by her brother Sidney Robbins, her children Janet, Robert (Christine), Ralph, and Kenneth (Trisha), grandchildren David Leon, Brendan, Joshua, Noah, Siera and Will Pritikin, nephews Robert Lubin, David, Neal and Richard Robbins, and nieces Marilynn Falik, Susan Huntington and Ruth Evans, as well as many greatgrandchildren, grandnephews and grandnieces. Ilene was preceded in death by her husband Nathan Pritikin and her sister Evelyn Lubin.
At Ilene’s request, there will be no memorial service. Donations may be made to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the Coalition Against Gun Violence.
The Pritikin family would like to express their deep gratitude and appreciation to Ilene’s former daughter-in-law, Enid Pritikin, MSW, of Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, for her care and devotion to Ilene in ensuring that the last months, weeks, days and hours of Ilene’s life were lived in comfort and dignity.