Minou (Bayat) Modabber was born in 1937 and raised in Egypt by parents of Iranian decent. She earned a full scholarship to The Academy of Art in Rome and left Egypt for an adventure in Italy against her parents' wishes. There, Minou studied Set Design and Art History, and went on to work as a drafter at an architecture firm for two years after completing her undergraduate studies.
From Rome, Minou moved to Los Angeles to be closer to her twin sister, Mangol Bayat, where she met her husband, Farrokh Modabber, a PhD student in the Immunology/Microbiology department at UCLA. Minou and Farrokh moved to Brookline in 1969 for Farrokh's Post Doc at the Harvard School of Public Health. Minou began to dabble in medical arts when she helped him with his graphics for posters and publications.
In 1970, they had their first and only child together, Yalda. Four years later, they moved to Tehran where they thought they would settle indefinitely. In Iran, Minou, who spoke six languages fluently, worked as a translator while also continuing a prolific career as an artist. In one exhibit, she sold out of over 50 pieces on the first night of her show. By the 1979 revolution in Iran, the couple had separated, and Minou came back to Brookline with Yalda.
Minou continued to create art as a single mother, while working as an Administrative Assistant at the Harvard School of Public Health. One year later, she was hired by Dana Farber Cancer Institute to run the Medical Arts Department. She ran the department for 39 years until her retirement in April 2019 at the age of 81. In July 2019, Minou went to see her primary care physician for what she believed to be viral symptoms (a sore throat and fatigue that didn't improve with time). By August, she was hospitalized because her esophagus was completely obstructed. A week later, she was diagnosed with Metastatic Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma.
Minou passed away peacefully and painlessly on Monday, Labor Day, September 2nd. By her side were her daughter Yalda Modabber, son-in-law Matthew Stromberg, and her two beloved grandsons, Kian Stromberg (15 years old) and Manu Stromberg (12 years old).
To have passed away on the day that celebrates hard work from a disease for which she dedicated nearly four decades of her professional life seems both ironic and fitting. In her last days she kept saying: "I should have never retired!"
In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund for has been created to commemorate Minou's life. For more information about the fund, please visit http://www.golestankids.com/donate/. Please dedicate your donation to: The Minou Modabber Scholarship Fund.
To send flowers to Minou's family, please visit our floral section.