Saratogians Remember Marylou Whitney

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

When the death of Marylou Whitney was announced on July 19 at Saratoga, tributes and obituaries appeared not just in Saratoga Springs, her hometown, but also in newspapers nationwide, from the Palm Beach Post, the paper of her winter home, to the Sacramento Bee. The woman known locally simply as “Marylou” was a woman of national interest, if news reports are any indication.

But Saratoga has long claimed her as her own. She spent much of the year at Cady Hill, the estate originally owned by her second husband, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, and she was a generous and active philanthropist, supporting the National Museum of Racing, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Museum of Dance, and Saratoga Hospital.

The affluent socialized with her; the rest of us watched from afar, or sometimes, up close, as she arrived to her annual ball the night before the Whitney Stakes in Congress Park, in the middle of downtown, amid spectators who lined the park’s entrance. When she was in town, she frequented local restaurants with her husband John Hendrickson, and we tried not to gawk or eavesdrop too much when we ended up seated next to her.

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