Lynn Grefe will be greatly missed…
It is with tremendous sadness that we share with you that Lynn Grefe, long-time president and CEO of NEDA and a noted political and social activist, passed away April 28 at her home in Edgewater, NJ – surrounded by family and friends – following a valiant, year-long battle with cancer. She was 65.
We can honestly say that Lynn – in both a professional life dedicated to helping others and as a wife, parent and friend – left the world a better place than it was when she got here.
Lynn has helmed New York City-based NEDA for more than a decade, bringing her expertise, drive and dedication to the cause in 2003. In that role, she expanded the organization dramatically, establishing it as the leading U.S. non-profit supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. She was passionate about providing hope to the 30 million Americans who will struggle with these illnesses at some point in their lives and worked to ensure that they, as well as their families and loved ones, had a voice.
During her tenure, Lynn launched or grew numerous innovative and ground-breaking programs, including the non-profit’s annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week campaign; NEDA’s Helpline, which provides information and referrals to those in need; its Navigators peer support program; the Loss Support Network; a national conference bringing together families, individuals and professionals; and an interactive youth website, Proud2BMe.org. She created NEDA’s walk program, which grew to 65 events across the country with more than 15,000 participants annually. Her contributions also include legislative victories in eating disorders education, awareness and treatment access; as well as successful public media advocacy campaigns, sponsorships and alliances.
A published author in the eating disorders field and NEDA’s spokesperson, she frequently appeared on television and in print, both nationally and in virtually every major market across the country.
During her varied and distinguished career – which long centered on issues, advocacy and solutions – Lynn worked in the field of juvenile justice; was an active and effective consultant in several national political campaigns; and, in 1995, was named director of the New York Republican Family Committee which became the Republican Pro-Choice Alliance in 1997 and then merged with like-minded organizations in 1999 to form the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition.
Lynn’s career was marked by her unequivocal and inherent sense of fairness. Her passionate approach to each career challenge was always informed by a logic and sense of order that is all too rare. Those who knew Lynn and were privileged to work with her were taken by her natural leadership, her zest for life, her humor and her inevitable creativity. She was the driving force behind several pieces of life-changing legislation, understood the importance of strategic partnerships and approached each new problem as if it were the first day of school … with eager anticipation and assurance that a solution was not far down the road. Lynn was the glue that bound countless people of many political persuasions and personal beliefs together. She could always see the merit in differing opinions while valuing and respecting each exchange of ideas. She honored us with her wisdom, delighted us with her quick smile and reminded us what a powerful force for good we all could be.
An avid cyclist, Lynn enjoyed bike tours throughout the U.S. and Europe; hiking with her dog, Jeter; and cheering on the Yankees. She is survived by her husband, Rick Antosh; two children from a previous marriage, Keith Grefe and Nicole Landsman; two stepchildren, Keith Antosh and Craig Antosh, both of Chicago; two grandchildren; and her sister, Sandy Friedel.
Lynn was a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders, the National Institute of Mental Health Alliance and was the leader of the NEDA Network of 23 eating disorder non-profits around the nation. She served on the Advisory Council of the Mental Health Foundation, which honored her in 2011. In 2014, she was also honored by Women’s E-News as one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century.