Ronee Brimberg-Clark, 58, died in her home in Vestal, on the morning of June 5, 2014. Throughout her long illness, she remained both optimistic and realistic, facing each challenge with determination and courage. Her exuberance for life, her faith in people, her enjoyment of the company of her family and friends, and the satisfaction and pride she derived from helping others never faltered. Ronee got loving and devoted support in these last years from her husband Skip Clark, son Jaisen, two sisters-in-law, Penny Pelletier and Connie Kelley, and from the close friends and relatives who came often and gladly to be by her side. Ronee was born in Brooklyn, NY on June 11, 1955, the youngest child of the late Mitzi and Red Brimberg. She attended Erasmus Hall High School, Brooklyn College, and Oneonta College, where she earned a bachelor's degree, majoring in psychology. She received her Master's Degree in Social Work from SUNY Albany. For the last 29 years, Ronee worked at the Family and Children's Society in Binghamton where she supervised the Sexual Abuse Treatment Program. In 1984, Ronee was the first recipient of the Society's Leadership Award. In 2004 she accepted the Fay Honey Knopp Award for Excellence from the NYSASOSP on behalf of the Society. In 2012, Ronee received the Lighthouse Award from the Crime Victims Assistance Center for her work with traumatized victims of sexual abuse. Despite the difficulties brought on by her illness, Ronee remained active in her work until recently and counseled her private clients until just a few weeks ago. More than her professional accomplishments, it was the way that Ronee went about her work that distinguished her. Her longtime colleague and friend, Gene Peters, said, "Ronee's work was always characterized by kindness, dedication and attention to detail; she dealt with problems with compassion and honesty. I often saw her get her staff to do things that might have seemed beyond their capacity. But she never worked for personal gain or glory; she encouraged her staff, taught them, trusted them, and cared about them. As recently as three weeks before her death, [a colleague] shared that Ronee was still giving her instructions about how to take over her work." Ronee's influence on others had no boundaries. Because she was drawn to people, because she genuinely enjoyed hearing their stories and just being with them, the air in the room seemed to change when she entered it. People sought to be with her in part because of how special, how smart, how competent, how important, and how safe she made them feel. Her power, her great authority, came from her wonderful ability to listen to others, to laugh and cry with them, and to be with them with all her heart. The settings and activities of Ronee's life were many and varied: in summer, she loved to be on the beach in Long Beach Island, NJ with her family and friends. She loved to bake and make candy at holiday time, to spend Thanksgiving at the cabin in New Paltz, to talk and play with her nieces and nephews, to read, knit, do craft activities and crossword puzzles, to have Bunko nights with her friends, to giggle and to sing off key. But it was always her goodness and sense of humor that made these ordinary activities extraordinary for her and for the others with her. A big part of Ronee's adult life was spent on the sidelines and bleachers of soccer fields, where she was the most enthusiastic booster and cheerleader of Skip and Jaisen at their games. But while Ronee admired Jaisen's spectacular athletic ability, she naturally began to think about what direction he might take as he approached adulthood in light of the fact that he would probably not have his mother to guide him. When Jaisen resisted her persistent inquiries and asked her why she didn't leave that alone, she replied, "I'm paid to pry into other people's business, and I'm nosy by nature!" Even in the face of her own uncertain future, Ronee was able to bring a smile to Jaisen's face. Penny said, "Connie and I were the luckiest sisters-in-law to have Ronee in our family. We laugh about all the times when her health care colleagues would assume Ronee was our mom. We never would correct them, and she would finally say, 'I'm not their mom!' Actually, we would have been more than proud to say she was our mother, but we were even prouder to say she was our sister through and through. This is an enormous loss for everyone who knew and loved her. Miss you, Sissy." Skip shared that just before he met Ronee, he was about to resign himself to life as a bachelor. "Then, one day she came into my shop. We started to date. I could tell Ronee was different. Ronee had the complete package." Skip said that in their 22 years of happy marriage the last 3 were the best because Ronee and he let more trivial things fall away to focus on what was really important: each other, Jaisen, family and friends. In a recent letter to her Aunt Ronee, Mae Ackerman-Brimberg wrote, "Your love is contagious, and it makes us not only love you, but love each other more… You love to laugh, and to make people laugh… On the Thursday morning before I left, there was a moment when you were singing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough.' Even though I know you were feeling tired and crappy, you brought us into the moment, together, made us happy in a tough situation, just by being yourself… I love you more than words can express, and I am grateful for every single day that you have been and will be in my life." Everyone whose lives have been touched by Ronee shares in the pain of her loss and in the gratitude for having known her. Ronee is survived by her husband Skip; son Jaisen; sister Leslee Atiram of Old Bridge, NJ; brother Stanlee Brimberg of NYC; 9 nieces & nephews and 1 great nephew; and scores of relatives, friends & colleagues. There will be an opportunity for family & friends to remember Ronee together at a Memorial Service on Sunday, June 15 at Temple Concord, 9 Riverside Dr., Binghamton. They will be receiving family and friends at 1 and a service will begin at 2. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in memory of Ronee to Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 959, Vestal, NY 13851.
Pucedo Funeral Home - Endicott
1905 Watson Boulevard Endicott, NY 13760
Published in Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin from June 8 to June 15, 2014