1948 - 2012
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Cornelia Anne Dellenbaugh (1948 – 2012)
Cornelia "Cricket" "Cory" Dellenbaugh of New York City, died on her birthday, December 28, 2012. Sailor, world-class explorer of ideas and remote islands, singer, painter, intellectual, devoted mother to her beloved son, Cornelia's life filled a broad canvas, bearing uncanny resemblance to her artist/explorer great-grandfather, Frederick Dellenbaugh, founder of The Explorer's Club.
Cornelia was born in 1948 to Marguerite Canfield Dellenbaugh and Frederick S. Dellenbaugh III. She grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut, graduated from Kathleen Laycock Country Day School (Greens Farms Academy) in 1966, and the University of Pennsylvania in 1970.
Cornelia is predeceased by her partner, Joe McNulty, and survived by her son, Burgut, her sisters Caro, Anne and Meg, and her niece Jareka.
Cornelia began traveling right away, preferring summer in France to a debutante ball, traveling to the Balkans to folk dance, and entering the Peace Corps, inspired by a story from seventh grade of a volunteer who built a boat for a fishing village and another for himself, which he sailed home. She worked first in a rural Thai village developing mother-child nutrition programs, then in Bangkok at the Ministry of Health, analyzing data, and training volunteers, while overseeing construction of her 35' sloop, Brillig. In 1975, Cricket set sail, with family and friends, heading for home, albeit circuitously. Their passage was interrupted when the Vietnamese captured Brillig, holding the crew, each in solitary confinement, for four months. Upon release, they were returned to Brillig, arriving home in 1981.
Cornelia earned an MA in Public Health at UCLA, focusing on occupational/environmental health. She was Senior Programmer Analyst at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, working on the World Trade Center Program following 25,000 9/11 clean up workers. She was a rare technologist with a deep understanding of research design, statistical analyses, programming, and interpretation of data.
In NYC, she found a home at the Church of St Luke in the Fields where she sang in the choir. In a chance encounter, she met Joe, her partner. In 1999, she journeyed to Buryatia, Russia, to bring home her son who was lovingly welcomed into their family. Together they explored New York on foot, sailed Joe's boat, rode narrow gauge trains, and swam at Fire Island. Cornelia was instrumental in running the after-school programs at PS3 and the PTA at Quest To Learn Charter School. She and Burgut traveled to South Africa with St Luke's and to Poland to visit a friend. Burgut, now 15, will be well cared for by Cornelia's sisters and his long-time caregiver, Mike Robinson.
Cornelia remained vibrantly alive to the end. She played sitar in a concert days before her passing. She planned a birthday dance party, but instead she got songs, prayers, and love from family and friends gathered at her bedside.
A celebration will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Church of St Luke in the Fields. In lieu with flowers, please donate to Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York.
Published on NYTimes.com from Dec. 31, 2012 to Jan. 1, 2013