Bernard E. Kirschenbaum

Time of Service:

11:30 AM

Place of Service:

The Riverside
02/18/2016
Bernard Kirschenbaum 91, of New York City, died on February 16. In the spring of 1943 his botany studies at Cornell were interrupted when he enlisted in the army as part of the fighting 69th regiment of New York State. On April 19, 1945, he helped liberate the Leipzig-Thekla concentration camp. On April 25, 1945, he was a part of the historic meeting of the American and Russian ground troops at the River Elbe in Germany. In 1946 he returned to Cornell and transferred to Bauhaus-based Institute of Design in Chicago where he graduated in 1952. In 1954 he and a friend from Cornell, Bill Wainwright, founded Geodesics with Bucky Fuller as honorary president. In 1957 he began building the first residential geodesic dome ever built. He designed a pattern of diamonds and triangles for the dome floor that was an undiscovered tessilation later known as Penrose tiles after a later discovery by Roger Penrose. Bernie enjoyed success as a sculptor and professor of sculpture, receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. He had dozens of exhibitions of his work in the US, Sweden, Belgium and Finland. Bernie is survived by his beloved wife, Susan Weil Kirschenbaum, his two children, Christopher Rauschenberg and Sara Kirschenbaum, daughter-in-law Janet Stein; two grandchildren, Sage Bedell and Flint Kirschenbaum his sister, Frances Brandt, and her husband, children, and grandchildren, all of whom loved and esteemed him. The family would like to thank Isaac Amponsah for his excellent care of Bernie. We are comforted by the caring showed us during his struggle with “heart failure”, but was actually, a triumph of love. Donations in honor of Bernie may be sent to Blue Sky Gallery, or Wanas Sculpture Garden.
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