Ilene died Dec. 24, 2020, in New York of pulmonary hypertension. 

Ilene came to Princeton from Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) High School East. Freshman year she roomed with Kristin McKeehan and sophomore year with Jeanne Spinner and Brooks Rogers.

Following her sophomore year, Ilene transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. Two years later she enrolled in the summer program at the Fletcher School at Tufts, where her life took an unforeseen and harrowing trajectory. She described it in the Oct. 22, 1997, issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly: “Mental illness has become my longtime companion.” In her e-book Read My Mind she wrote, “By 25, I had a major psychiatric diagnosis and had seen the inside of locked wards in three different states.” 

For years Ilene’s effort to find high-quality care from the mental-health profession was marked by repeated disappointment until a transformative meeting with a new therapist. Ken became an indispensable teacher, guide, and friend during the final 25 years of Ilene’s life.

She earned a master’s degree in English as a Second Language (ESL) from Hunter College. Some years later, Ilene began teaching English to Japanese students at the Tenri Cultural Institute in Greenwich Village. The last seven years of Ilene’s life were focused on her Japanese students and interaction with their community, where she attained the title Sensei (teacher). 

Ilene was predeceased by her parents, Alice and Howard Adler ’47. She is survived by her sisters, Joan Laura Adler and Heidi Adler-Spinella; and her niece, Julia Spinella.

Undergraduate Class of 1976