Marilyn Markman and her boyfriend, Jerome Wilner, met on a dating service in 1989. After a two-hour phone conversation, they had their first date, meeting for drinks on Valentine’s Day. The two, both divorced, never married and decided to maintain separate residencies but had a close and loving relationship for the next 31 years.

On that first date, they talked and talked.

“We found that we had similar interests — food, music, stage shows, movies,” Wilner recalled. “We found all these interests and decided to see where it could go.”

Markman died May 2 at Holy Cross Hospital after being diagnosed with covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and transferred from a long-term care facility in Kensington. She was 90.

Born on Nov. 14, 1929, in Des Moines as Marilyn Louise Gates, Markman attended the University of Iowa where she was a beauty queen and a dancer with a student troupe. While a student, she also worked as a copy writer for the Seamless Rubber Company. She married another Iowa student, Sherwin Markman, and moved with him to Connecticut while he attended Yale Law School.

In 1966, when Sherwin Markman was tapped for a position at the White House as special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Markman family moved from Des Moines to Potomac. They divorced in 1980.

According to her son, Stephen Markman, she struggled with a mood disorder but found a healing outlet through her artwork, which included abstract collages and figurative painting. Wilner said that after she moved to assisted living, three of her paintings always graced the walls of her room. Her love of dance and visual arts was a constant throughout her life.

“She used to take me to the Des Moines Art Center for art lessons when we lived in Des Moines,” Stephen Markman recalled. “She loved going to the museums and galleries. She loved beauty and she instilled that in her kids.”

She is survived by her son, Stephen Madison Markman, of Philadelphia; two daughters, Nicole Mari Markman, of Thurmont, and Stacy Lynn Markman, of Friday Harbor, Wash.; and one grandson.

Correction: This file has been updated to correct where Marilyn Markman attended college. She studied at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.