Marylou Whitney (b. Marie Louise Schroeder, December 24, 1925, Kansas City, Missouri) is a prominent socialite. Whitney has many seasonal residences, first and foremost her "Cady Hill" estate in Saratoga Springs New York, a massive camp in the Adirondacks, a farm near Lexington, Kentucky, a winter home in Florida and a residence in Alaska where her current husband is from. She is also a noted philanthropist.
Miss Schroeder married Frank Hosford in 1948 and they had four children: Marion Louise, Frank "Hobbs", Henry "Hank", and Heather. After her divorce she married Cornelius Vanderbilt "Sonny" Whitney in 1958 and they had one child, Cornelia. CV "Sonny" Whitney died in 1992, leaving Marylou with an estate estimated at the time of $100 million. In October 1997 Marylou married John Hendrickson, a (then) 32-year-old tennis champ and former aide to Governor Walter Joseph Hickel of Alaska. John had proposed to Marylou in Buckingham Palace. She is an avid ice skater.
Her late husband's family were a major force in thoroughbred horse racing and in 2003, she made a $100,000 donation to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, an organization that stables approximately seven hundred thoroughbred horses at twenty-five farms throughout the United States with a mission of finding new homes through adoption by private citizens.
Marylou suffered a stroke in early 2006, which seriously curtailed her activities in Saratoga during the 2006 meet (late July through early September) when traditionally she is a crucial social figure. She has been called "The Queen of Saratoga" for her constant support for the Upstate NY community. While recovering she did manage to still take a figuratively large role in the leadership of horse racing for New York. Marylou is the honorary chairwoman of Empire Racing Associates, one of the firms vying to replace the New York Racing Association, whose franchise to run Saratoga, Belmont Park and Aqueduct expires on Dec. 31, 2007.
As of early 2007 Marylou was still having physical therapy for recovery from the stroke but down to just six hours week. She has declared that she will be back in full force for the Saratoga race season in 2007.
Breast cancer activist
Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson donated $2.5 million for the Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson Cancer Facility for Women at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. The building was dedicated in Lexington, Kentucky in December, 2001 by officials from the University of Kentucky and the McDowell Cancer Foundation.
The Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson Cancer Facility for Women is 45,465 square feet (4,223.8 m2) and opened in 2002. It provides multidisciplinary ambulatory care for women suffering from breast cancer, gynecologic cancers, and lung, hematologic, gastrointestinal and urologic cancers.
Philanthropist and thoroughbred owner and breeder Marylou Whitney co-chaired the annual luncheon to raise funds to battle breast cancer for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. About $100,000 was raised for the Foundation.
Whitney has ties to the Long Lake area in the Adirondacks. Upon CV's death in 1992, Marylou inherited Whitney Industries, a largely gravel and lumber business with 51,000 acres (210 km²) of critical Adirondack real estate. With John taking the lead in negotiations, some 14,700 acres (59 km²) were sold to New York State for $17.1 million, only after initially seeking rights to develop 40 exclusive shoreline estates on the western stretch of the Whitney estate. That public request set off environmentalists to push New York State into a deal.
The acquired lands are called the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area.
On July 16, 2007 Marylou Whitney and her husband John Hendrickson donated $250,000 to the Long Lake Library, a gift of five times the library's operating budget. In celebration of the gift, the library will be renamed The Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Long Lake Library. She already has given donations to the Long Lake Medical Center and the Long Lake United Methodist Church.