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In Memoriam: Molly Mednikow, Former Jeweler Turned Animal Rights Advocate |  November 08, 2017 (16 comments)


Portland, OR—Molly H. Mednikow, a former jeweler turned animal-rights advocate, died unexpectedly on October 29. She was 49.

A Tennessee native, Mednikow worked in her family’s business, Mednikow, a 126-year-old retail jeweler with stores in Memphis and Nashville, TN, and Atlanta, GA. Together with her brother, Jay, she opened the firm’s Atlanta store and worked in it for about seven years before selling her share of the business to pursue her passion for saving animals.

After spending some time in Peru and witnessing the terrible treatment of many domestic animals, Mednikow was inspired to make a difference. She founded Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety (Amazon CARES), a 501 (c)3 charity that was the first and only domestic animal welfare charity and no-kill animal shelter in the Peruvian Amazon. For nearly a decade, she lived in Iquitos, Peru, and served as Amazon CARES’s chair, running day-to-day operations of the organization, which encompassed a shelter, rescue group, and veterinary clinic.

Since its founding 2004 Amazon CARES has received international recognition for bringing domestic animal welfare awareness to a remote and impoverished part of the world, and Mednikow herself was the recipient of the Doris Day Animal League Kindered Spirit Award and has attended numerous national and international welfare conferences. 

Molly Mednikow, above right, with her dog, Marilyn, and Manuela Rodrigues, current president and executive director of Amazon Cares.

In addition to her love of animals, Mednikow was a scholar with a lifelong love of learning. A graduate of the University of Georgia, she also held an M.B.A. from Georgia State University, and at the time of her death was entering her final semester of law school. After successfully prosecuting an animal abuser in Peru, her thoughts turned to becoming an animal-rights attorney full time. Having created a viable organizational model with policy and standard operating procedures that has since been used to assist new animal welfare charities in Latin America, Mednikow turned daily operations over to Manuela Rodrigues and embarked on the path to become an attorney. She studied animal law in Spain during the summer of 2015, then interned for the Animal Abuse unit of the District Attorney's office of Cobb County (Atlanta), GA, and was a law student in the animal rights program at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, OR, at the time of her death.

Click here to watch a Global Animal Law Project video interview with Mednikow filmed in July 2016.

She is survived by her parents, Robert M. and Betty Mednikow, brother Jay (Elizabeth Jane) Mednikow, one niece, two nephews and, of course, her beloved animals. Memorial donations may be made to Amazon CARES through PayPal. Checks may be mailed to Amazon CARES, P.O. Box 271344, Tampa, FL 33688. 

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Comments (16):

Thank you so much for writing this beautiful tribute for our beloved Molly.

By Mindy Morris on Nov 8th, 2017 at 11:40pm

So sorry for your loss, Jay. Breaks my heart.
I lost my only brother a few days ago,
so can share your pain.
Marie Helene

By Marie Helene Morrow on Nov 9th, 2017 at 9:13pm

Amazing tribute to a life cut too short.  What she accomplished very few can only dream.

By Jack Cohen on Nov 10th, 2017 at 10:01pm

My condolences to the family

Follow my message:

Molly Mednikow thanks for everything you did for my sister, Manuela Rodrigues.

Wherever you are, we thank you for your acts of courage, dedication and generosity with the animals here on Earth.

Thanks a lot.

Carlos Rodrigues

By Carlos Alexandre Rodrigues on Nov 12th, 2017 at 9:16am

This is another one of those brutal moments, reminding us how precious life is. I am shocked to hear this very sad news.

Although from abroad, I have known the Mednikow family for a few decades and have enjoyed great moments with them. Molly and Jay were the original faces of the Atlanta store and instrumental in making it a success. I remember my frequent visits to their beautiful store in Phipps Plaza well.

Growing up in a ‘family business’ myself, I know that it is not easy to find one’s place. There are a lot of expectations from all sides. For Molly not to ultimately follow her preset jewelry career was a courageous move, but must have been difficult as well. While being a young female entrepreneur in a foreign country, it takes great perseverance and dedication, to start such ambitious charity work (Amazon CARES). Especially in a country that had little or no animal rights or animal advocates.

By studying law, she aimed to receive the legal knowledge and background, to further strengthen her ideas and accomplishments. Molly followed her principles and found her destiny and purpose. She set a mark and made a difference and could have done so much more. I am glad to have crossed paths with Molly during her years in the jewelry business.

By Gerwin R Platz jr. on Nov 12th, 2017 at 10:56am

It must be true…” only the good die young.”

What a sad loss to the world and to the animal community!

I just received an email about her death, and was trying to find out what happened when I came upon all the wonderful work that she did.

Gael Ross

By Gael Joyce Ross on Nov 17th, 2017 at 6:49pm

Susan….Jay and I wanted to share this with you.  You never met Molly, but she was an important part of our family and we are in pain…..Bob

By susan ecola on Dec 4th, 2017 at 7:08pm

I am profoundly sorry to learn of Molly’s passing.  What a tireless and effective advocate for animals she was, and what a lovely human being she was.  My condolenses to her family and to the world at large for this great loss.

By Jackie Goodman on Dec 7th, 2017 at 5:26am

My heartfelt condolences to the Mednikow family for the loss of your daughter and sister. I had the pleasure of meeting Molly at the 24 Karat dinner in New York a number of years ago and understand what an amazing and vibrant person she was.

By Howard Hauben on Dec 19th, 2017 at 7:05pm

I taught Molly at University of Georgia. around 1990.  I remember her vividly.  What a wonderful spirit.

Very, very sad.

By brian mirsky on Apr 8th, 2018 at 10:05pm

Dear Brian,
I remember you well.  We met when we came to UGA to visit Molly.  Both Betty(Molly’s mom) and I talked about what a fine person you were, and still are.  I hoped our paths would cross again, but not in this way. Molly liked you very much too.  She lived a full and very active life, travelling all over the world, and especially to Spanish speaking countries where she conversed like a native and lived in the jungle, and took animals into small villages up the Amazon to show natives that dogs were wonderful creatures and not wild animals to mistreat.  She did the same thing in schools and old age homes.  We could never imagnie a Jewish American Princess washing her clothes in the river and never wearing makeup…..but that was her until she came home.Thank you for your condolences.  It is meaningful and helps us bear our pain. 

Bob Mednikow
474 Perkins Ext’
Memphis, TN 38117

By Robert Mednikow on Apr 26th, 2018 at 7:34pm

My condolences to the family. I met Molly at Mercer Law. We studied together and become very, very good friends. When we last spoke in October she said she was shutting down Facebook and Instagram to take a break and focus on school. We made plans for me to travel to Seattle for a visit. I have been calling her phone and checking Instagram for her. For some reason this morning I decide to google her name:  I cried all morning. I’m so sorry for you loss. Molly was an awesome person. She was passionate about the things she cared about and it showed in every fiber of her being. I miss you my friend.

I have no idea what happened. If someone could contract me, I would appreciate it. Thank you.

By Nicola Cabemes on May 28th, 2018 at 5:31pm

Dear Nicola…for some reason I am just now seeing your condolence message,,,,It has been a year and we still feel her loss, which is why I am going over the messages that were sent.
I am her father and we were very close.  We took frequent trips together to Europe, and around the US.  Her spirit was incredible.  She had an open mind for everything, and especially new friends. 

Her loss was caused by a tragic series of medical accidents following a very minor automobile collision.  There were no narcotics or foul play.  She went to bed on a Saturday night and did not awaken on Sunday morning. 

Rabbi Micah Greenstein delivered a beautiful eulogy saying that Molly had accomplished more in her short 49 years, than most people do in a lifetime.

Thank you for writing.  I hope this helps you remember her as the remarkable human being she was.

Bob .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

By Robert Mednikow on Oct 30th, 2018 at 7:19pm

Dear Betty, Bob, and Jay,
Don, mother and I were sitting around the dinner table reminiscing about the good old days when we were neighbors on Mendenhall. Mother still talks about missing her visits with Betty on the front porch.. We knew that Jay was active at Mednikows Jewelers, but we wondered where Molly was and how she was doing. I googled her name and what shock and sadness to learn of Molly’s passing. I will never forget the first night I babysat for Molly.I remember after all this time what a beautiful and perfect little baby she was. I remember feeling so honored that y’all would trust me to babysit for you and your wonderful children.
I cannot tell you how sorry and sad we are over your loss of Molly. You have always been a part of our family and you remain in our hearts, as you have since you moved from Mendenhall.
We love you so much! Please let us know if there is anyway we can help you in this time of pain.
Amy and the Meiers

By Amy Meier on Apr 4th, 2019 at 1:53pm

I met Molly in Israel in Aug 83
I was with a UK Zionist Youth Group

We remained in contact for a while by letter.

Looking back I can see how she became such a great campaigner and achieved so much for the world

By Richard Berman on Mar 7th, 2020 at 6:19pm

I love and miss you Molly.. I think about you alot.  I was just sharing your pictures with my fiance and telling her about your wonderful life.  Let this message serve as a testament that you were so very loved.

By HSL on Apr 21st, 2021 at 9:30pm

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