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Helga Robins Cornell

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Helga Robins Cornell Obituary
Helga Robins Cornell

Memphis, TN

Helga Robins Cornell, adored mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, died Wednesday. Resilient and forward-looking, Helga lived a remarkable life that spanned nearly a century. At age 19, on the morning of Kristallnacht, the "night of broken glass," she escaped Nazi Germany with her brother, Axel. They settled in Memphis, where she met Eric Cornell, also a recent immigrant from Germany. The two wed Thanksgiving Day 1942, and shared 45 years together until Eric's passing.

Helga leaves her children, Gloria Felsenthal and her husband, Eddie, and Bunny Burson, and her husband, Charles; five grandchildren, Edward Felsenthal (Ali), Marty Felsenthal (Amy), David Felsenthal (Jo), Clare Burson (Jordan) and Kate Burson; and 11 great-grandchildren, Ryan, Jake, Abby, Nate, Gracie, Lucy, Lionel, Simon, Sophie, Louise and Eric.

A lover of the arts, Helga was a docent at Brooks and the Dixon. She delivered Meals on Wheels for MIFA; volunteered at the Church Health Center; and was a devoted member of Temple Israel, where she gave tours and until recently worked in the archives. Well into her 90s, she enjoyed Tai-Chi and lifted weights; she continued regular exercise classes into her final year. Grateful for the blessings that came to her in this country, she flew an American flag in her yard, as she put it, "day and night, every day and during all seasons."

Services will be 10 a.m., Friday, July 21 in the Levy-Cooper Chapel at Temple Israel Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Temple Israel Archives Fund, Brooks Museum or the Church Health Center.
Published in The Commercial Appeal on July 21, 2017
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