Appreciation

Miami loses an elusive star

 
 
Victoria London
Victoria London

Special to the Miami Herald

Editor’s Note: For months, Victoria London, Romania’s consul in Miami, eagerly awaited Friday evening visits from Miami Herald Issues & Ideas editor John Yearwood. He would bring a printout of the section, her favorite. As she battled Lou Gehrig’s disease, knowing what would be in the Sunday section a few days early and learning how it came together brought a measure of comfort. On Tuesday, London, 69, died from complications of the disease. Her friend, Beatrice Rangel, wrote an appreciation.

A world away from her native Romania, Victoria London came to Miami in 1974 having already achieved the American Dream.

Miami came into Victoria’s life clothed in love as she left Goldman Sachs to set a home with Edward London, the father of her children and business partner. In those days, Miami was only regarded as a vacation or retirement destination — not a business center, let alone a gateway to the United States. But Victoria saw a promising and emerging business activity in counseling high-net-worth individuals from the Caribbean Basin and developing for them networks in the U.S.

Armed with her almost magical personal charm, deep knowledge of finances, never-ending capacity to work hard and blind persistence, Victoria built a business that was supportive of her husband’s real estate development firm.

Born in Romania to a noble family at the dawn of the Cold War, Victoria experienced the horrors of economic collapse, war destruction and political persecution against her family. She grew up under the iron rule of former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin after seeing her homeland lose independence to an occupying power.

When she moved to New York as the wife of a Romanian diplomat, she was barely a teenager. She dreamed of attending Columbia University and her dream came true.

Thereafter, she decided to live a life that would make a difference to those less fortunate. Value creation and sharing became her leitmotivs.

Many local institutions benefited from her generosity, including hospitals, dance companies and women’s organizations. In supporting these institutions, she sought to improve the lives of others without taking credit.

She will be dearly missed by her two sons, Jack and Aggy, as well as those in the community that appreciate true talent and honest generosity.

Rangel is CEO of AMLA Consulting Group, a business development advisory firm in Miami, and a board member of the Latin America Advisor.

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