In Memoriam: Charlotte Jirousek (M.A. Home Economics '82, PhD DHA '88)

portrait_caj7.jpgCharlotte Ann Jirousek (M.A. Home Economics ’82, PhD DHA ’88), Associate Professor and Curator at the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, died February 12, 2014 of a sudden severe heart attack. She was 75.

Charlotte was born in 1938 and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She obtained her B.A. in Sociology at Hamline University, and was part of the folk blues revival scene. She served in Peace Corps Turkey, and her lifelong passionate love of that country inspired much of her research and writing. Having been a social worker, mother, fiber artist, and leading member of the Minnesota weaving and crafts community, she completed her PhD in Applied Design at the University of Minnesota at the age of forty-four, and joined the Cornell faculty in 1992. 

Her academic focus was the history of dress and textile technologies; the influence of Islamic dress and textiles on the evolution of European fashion, and the history of Ottoman textiles and trade. Teaching and mentoring were as important to her as research and writing. She took a strong personal interest in her students and wanted to continue working with young people once she retired. She loved new experiences and travel. A few days before her death she was talking about another book idea, and looking forward to three months in Turkey.

Charlotte is survived by her brother Charlie Jirousek, her two daughters, Sara Miller Catterall, and Zoë Miller-Lee, and her grandchildren, Sam, Rowan, and Arlo. Her fire, strong opinions, active curiosity, and sharp humor will be sorely missed.

81659116.jpgx.jpgA memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM on  February 22nd at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, New York with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to two local organizations that she hoped to support in her retirement: the Caroline Food Pantry and Golden Opportunity tutoring.

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