Posted Thu, Aug 6, 2009

Robin Siegel Theurkauf has died after a long fight with cancer

By Jane E. Allen

I'm sad to relay word that Robin Siegel Theurkauf, a Yale political science lecturer who started with us in the Class of 1980, died on July 10, 2009, at Greenwich Hospital after a long struggle with cancer. Robin, who was in Silliman College, completed her undergraduate degree at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and came back to Yale for a Ph.D. in political science in 2001 and a master's from the Yale Divinity School in 2008. A memorial service took place July 17 at the Divinity School's Marquand Chapel. At Yale, Robin taught courses in international relations and was an expert in human rights and international law. Robin's death is particularly tough for her family because she lost her first husband, Thomas Francis Theurkauf Jr., in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, where he worked as an executive vice president at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods. Afterward, Robin testified against the death penalty during the victim impact portion of Al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui's trial. Writing in the Winter 2007 issue of the YDS publication Spectrum, Robin summed up her opposition to the death penalty this way: "Each of us is always a child of God. In our brokenness, we are called to forgive so that we may be forgiven. The act of forgiving, of giving up the demand for vengeance, is an act of transcendance. To let go of the anger is to let go of some of the pain." Robin is survived by her second husband, the Rev. James Kelly Poinsett, '05 M.Div., whom she met at Yale. They married on Oct. 7, 2006. She also is survived by her three sons, Thomas Francis Theurkauf III, Edward Arthur Theurkauf and Charles Henry Theurkauf; her parents Arthur and Judy Siegel of New Hartford, Conn.; a sister, Jennifer Ahlberg of Redding, Conn.; two brothers, Jim Siegel of West Hartford and Rob Siegel of Stratton, Vt.; two sisters-in-law, Barbara Theurkauf and Patricia Theurkauf, both of Glastonbury, Conn., and a brother-in-law, William Theurkauf of Sterling, Mass. The family asked that contributions in Robin's memory be made to The House of Bread, 1453 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06120; or Yale Divinity School (Att: Director of Development), 409 Prospect Street, New Haven. CT 06511. Please indicate such gifts are "In Memory of Robin Theurkauf." Any classmates who would like to share any recollections or happy memories of Robin can send them to me and we'll add them to the In Memoriam section of the Web site.
--Jane E. Allen, Secretary


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