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Robin Read

1943 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Robin Read Obituary
Read, Robin

Robin Read Brunelli, President and CEO of the National Foundation for Women Legislators from 1992 to 2012, passed away on June 2, 2016, after a prolonged and courageous struggle with heart failure. While the main memorial celebration service will be held with the family in Washington D.C. on June 22, those of us here who loved Robin will hold our New Mexico gathering to celebrate Robin's life from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, at the Manzano High School Performing Arts Center.

During her two decades leading NFWL, Robin transformed the organization into a force in empowering thousands of elected women leaders across the United States. From 1985 to 1992, as a Presidential appointee serving the Governors of the Federal Reserve Board, Robin's achievements included radically improving the effectiveness of training at the Fed's banking school. Robin served on numerous nonprofit and corporate boards and was most proud of her work for The National Women's History Museum.

Robin was born in Shenandoah, Iowa, on March 7, 1943, the child of Robert and Maribelle Read. Deaf until she was six, Robin developed such a remarkable emotional connectivity with people that most of us regarded her as an empath. Robin attended the University of New Mexico, where she was an aficionado of William Shakespeare, and lived 22 years in Albuquerque, where she was a realtor, a beloved teacher and Paw Print newspaper adviser at Manzano High School from 1978 to 1983, and a host of the "Kitchen Klatter" cooking and recipe show popular throughout the American Midwest.

A lifelong member of The Church of Christ, Scientist, Robin lived her life with a deep sense of awareness of God, and nearly all of us who knew her encountered Divine Love through Robin in ways that astounded us. With her special grace, wisdom, intelligence, and care, Robin impacted thousands of people's lives, leaving a profound legacy of love and joy.

Robin is survived by her husband, Sam Brunelli, with whom she shared one of the great love stories most of us have been privileged to witness; by the two girls she loved deeply and helped to raise, Tia Brunelli Mahaffy and Dara Brunelli O'Hara; by their husbands, Tim O'Hara and Michael Mahaffy; by the six children who called Robin their "Mimi": Sam, Grayson, Landon and Blake O'Hara and Anniston and Devon Mahaffy; by her cousins Duane Sullivan, Juli Sullivan Briggs, Kathryn Rydberg Gaver, Tom Rydberg and Lance Rydberg; and by her cousins' families.

As we reflect on Robin's life, we see the child who emerged from the realm of silence to communicate to each of us in a way that stirred our heart, lifted our esteem, transformed our soul, and empowered us to live our life from our best self. We see the woman who in the final years of her life taught us strength through her suffering and struggles. After seven decades of a life in which she blessed us daily with her lucid brilliance, compassion, love, wisdom, intelligence, and sense of excellence and achievement, Robin has "slipped the surly bonds of Earth and touched the face of God." And for the remainder of eternity, Robin's inner and outer beauty will never be extinguished from our minds.

To honor Robin's memory, donations can be made to The Read Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o The Jay Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 57, Shenandoah, IA 51601. To stay informed or to write a tribute, go to Robin Read's memorial page at

Published in Albuquerque Journal on June 19, 2016
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