Cornelia Fuller
1932 - 2020
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July 28, 1932 - July 17, 2020 Cornelia Fuller died peacefully at her home in Altadena, California on July 17, 2020 at age 87. She taught us how to age with dignity and style, keeping her passions for learning and helping others until the very end. Having survived late-stage breast cancer at age 46, she considered the rest of her life a gift and made the most of it. She was a leader or an active volunteer at too many organizations to list here, but they included the Gamble House, the League of Women Voters, the Pasadena Symphony, the Caltech Women's Club, and Huntington Hospital. She was a vibrant participant in community life at the retirement facility MonteCedro, her most recent home. The MonteCedro Resident Council adopted a resolution in her honor in June 2020 for her "dedicated and exceptional service and leadership." Cornelia's sudden diagnosis with cancer in 2020 shocked her family and friends as we expected her to sail well into her 90s. She is survived by her companion Lee Johnson and three daughters, Alison Lifland of Pasadena, California (married to Charles Lifland), Jessica Hopfield of New York, New York (married to James Cleary), and Natalie Hopfield of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She leaves behind six grandchildren, Peter Lifland (married to Brooke Lifland), Amy Lifland, Andrew Lifland, Eric Lifland, Max Zelle, and Milo Zelle. Cornelia's great-granddaughter Emerson Lifland was born in late 2019. Born on July 28, 1932 in Durham, North Carolina, Cornelia moved with her parents Lon and Gail Fuller and brother Brock to Cambridge, Massachusetts after her father became a professor at Harvard Law School. She graduated from Swarthmore College and obtained a master's degree in Education from Cornell University. Most of her adult life was spent in Princeton, New Jersey and Pasadena. Cornelia's passion for learning took many forms. She was always reading an interesting book, even in her final weeks. She worked as a schoolteacher and a tutor during many stages of her life. The reader will not be surprised to learn she excelled at crossword puzzles and cryptograms. She had a zest for travel. She lived for extended periods in Paris, in Cambridge, England, and in Copenhagen. She traveled to six continents, making friends and collecting beautiful art objects as she went. No one else in the family has traveled to Vietnam three times! Cornelia always spent part of each summer on Martha's Vineyard at her beloved Barn House in Chilmark. She adored this community and cherished seeing the same dear friends there year after year. She was a gracious and welcoming hostess and once made a Yule log from scratch with elaborate marzipan decorations that is still a legend in the family. She also had a remarkable talent for knitting and needlework and knit a sweater for every newborn baby who crossed her path, including a beautiful cabled one for her new great-granddaughter Emmy. Her daughters wish they had inherited this talent! The family would like to thank the dedicated and compassionate staff at MonteCedro and Mission Hospice for their help as Cornelia neared the end. And we are deeply appreciative of the support that flowed in from Cornelia's friends, with an especially heartfelt thanks to Wendy Shiba for providing amazing emotional and practical support in this Covid era when our norms have been upended. A decision on a memorial service will be made after the pandemic is controlled. Contributions in Cornelia Fuller's memory can be made to the American Cancer Society or to a charity of your choice. Heritage Crematory Funeral Director Christopher Shields 818-530-0700

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Published in Pasadena Star-News on Jul. 21, 2020.
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4 entries
August 14, 2020
The staff of the American Cancer Fund® at is sorry to hear of Cornelia’s passing. We have just received a memorial donation in her name and our sincere condolences go out to her family.
American Cancer Fund
August 9, 2020













I knew CorneIia as a tutor and she was an inspiring teacher. The worId has LOST a wonderful human being.

I knew

Gloriana Casey
July 25, 2020
Wonderful memories of lovely art adventures with you and our PALS!
Chet and Phyllis Specht
Chet and Phyllis Specht
July 22, 2020

I worked with Cornelia at Caltech way back in 1997 to about 2003. She was on the Board of the "Friends of Caltech Libraries". Others on that board were Sid Gally, Don McNamee, Joan Wilson & Jane Caughey. Unfortunately, when I left, the Friends group diminished and is no longer in existence.

Cornelia helped me tremendously with the Friends group when I first started working in the Library. She had her finger on the pulse of Caltech and I admired her a great deal.

She was one of the people I wondered about after I moved on from Caltech. I'm glad she lived a long life.

My condolences and deepest sympathy on the passing of such an amazing woman.

K.C. McBride
KC McBride
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