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In Memory of Ellen M. Knopf

Dr. Ellen M. Knopf, ASA 1989, passed away March 7, 2017 at the age of 57 in Manhattan, New York City.  She was born March 19, 1959 to Ralph and Theresa Knopf.  She is survived by her significant other Stan Fogel and her sister, Carol “Cleo” Knopf. 

Ellen was a remarkable person.  She graduated from Long Island University, was valedictorian of her class, and won many math awards along the way.  She worked for MetLife for many years as well as with LIMRA. In addition she taught math at Baruch College for over a decade. Her intellectual interests were quite broad. In addition to her degrees in mathematics she also had a Ph.D. in Classics and taught Greek and Roman history at Seton Hall and Montclair State. The title of her dissertation was “Contracts in Athenian Law.”

She was also an accomplished musician and singer in a number of styles. When she was young Ellen was a very serious folk singer, and ran a coffee house under the direction of the late Rev. Frederick Douglas Kirkpatrick, where many well-known folk singers gathered to sing. Her voice had amazing spirit and she sang with great conviction about the struggles of the people.  Ellen taught her sister to play the guitar and they sometimes sang together.  These times are still wonderful memories for her sister.  For many years Ellen studied Greek and Balkan singing; every year she and her group would perform at the annual Balkan music festival.

She continued studying for her whole life in her two favorite subjects, classics and mathematics in which she mastered algebraic topology and differential geometry – at the time of her death she was working through Lee “Smooth Manifolds”.