A celebration of life will be held Sunday, Sept. 15, for Fredda London, 75, who rose from making wedding dresses in Berkeley, Calif., to associate professor for research at the Temple University School of Medicine.

Dr. London died Sunday, July 21, of complications from dementia in Seattle, said her husband, Jack London. The couple moved to the West Coast last October.

During her 46 years in Philadelphia, Dr. London had a two-decade career as a researcher and administrator at Temple.

“The pain of the passing of this child of the ’60s is strongly felt,” her husband said.

She grew up in a rowhouse in Logan during the buttoned-down 1950s. By the 1960s, she had morphed into a flower child.

“She was an early adopter of that decade’s changes: pantyhose, contact lenses, and birth control pills,” London said.

In 1965, the pair jumped on a Greyhound bus and rode across the country to Berkeley, to enroll at the University of California. They married in 1968, the year the peace movement burgeoned in response to the Vietnam War.

Dr. London had earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Temple. She thought a master’s degree in literature from the university at Berkeley would get her a job, her husband said, but that proved wrong.

Instead, she worked as an EKG technician at a San Francisco hospital, and that experience sparked an interest in a biomedical career.

Once the couple returned to Philadelphia in 1972, Dr. London completed a degree in medical technology that landed her a job as a research lab technician at Thomas Jefferson’s University’s Cardeza Foundation for Hematologic Research.

“In typical Fredda fashion,” her husband said, “she soon was telling her lab director how his research program should proceed.”

At the director’s urging, she entered Jefferson’s biochemistry doctoral program and received a Ph.D. in 1987. She became assistant professor for research at the Temple University School of Medicine, with a specialty in blood coagulation, in 1989. Later, she was named associate professor.

Dr. London wrote scholarly papers, did lab research at Temple’s Sol Sherry Thrombosis Research Center, and taught biochemistry to medical students until 2006, when she became assistant vice provost for research of Temple’s Health Science campus. She retired in 2008.

In retirement, Dr. London set up a grant-writing business. She joined book clubs in French and English, and volunteered as a docent at the National Constitution Center.

Fredda London poses with a statue of James Madison at the Constitution Center on April 15, 2013.
Courtesy of Jack London
Fredda London poses with a statue of James Madison at the Constitution Center on April 15, 2013.

The Londons traveled in the United States and to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America. She enjoyed crocheting and knitting, gardening, cooking, and playing the piano with the Settlement Music School’s Adult Chamber Players.

She played twice a week. “I have really expanded my community of fellow musicians, and I have had such a good time,” she told the Settlement Music School Notes in the fall of 2016.

She was a member of the Jefferson Graduate School of Biochemical Sciences Alumni Association and was on the board of directors of the Miquon School. She also served on the executive board for Abbotts Square in Center City, where she lived in the 2000s.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by sons Benjamin and Jesse, and a granddaughter.

There will be a celebration of her life from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Settlement Music School, 416 Queen St. Burial was in Seattle.