Wed, Jun 12, 2024 10:00 AM

Hosts: Ken Gale, Donna Stein, Sally Gellert
  • memorial for Corinne Willinger -


How does one write about Corinne Willinger? She was very intelligent and extremely creative. She had a way with words and a talent for writing lyrics that anyone would admire. She cared about people, including total strangers, and went beyond just talk and took to the streets and courtrooms and hearing rooms and classrooms. Her songs were educational and often humorous, a difficult combination. Pretty much everyone who met Corinne realized in just a few moments how intelligent she was, but there was no snobbishness about her. And except for people who disagreed with her compassion and politics, it took mere minutes to realize how just plain nice she was. She gave up her 78th birthday to protest the war with the Granny Peace Brigade. She passed away Saturday evening, May 18. Corinne Willinger was 96.

There's an international e-list of many Raging Grannies groups and they have conventions every few years, which they call UN-conventions, and Corinne went to those-- they are reacting, too. Everyone who met her realized they were in the presence of someone extraordinary. One woman found an interview with Corinne from a Manhattan Neighborhood Network TV show called Witnessing History. It was a great show, but only half an hour and it needed more time. Much more. The host was a good interviewer.

Only knowing someone as wonderful as Corinne Willinger could cause this much grief in so many people.

Many of her friends had a celebration of her life on Memorial Day and will do another zoom memorial for her soon and on her birthday October 17th.

People are posting photos and memories on the funeral home web site:

Of course she was a featured guest on Eco-Logic radio. Several times. Ken did a show on Winning: the Ingredients to Successful Activism with Corinne and three other Elders. When the Pope's wonderful Climate Encyclical came out, we did a show on it and wanted one nonreligious person to point out how important the Encyclical was even to non-Christians. That was Corinne.

When Trump was elected, people were comparing him to Joseph McCarthy and we realized that most of the people doing that weren’t alive or were babies during McCarthyism. Three people were scheduled to do a show on what life was like back then. Corinne was one and the other two didn’t show up. Corinne had to keep the show going by herself, even as Ken was trying to get the other two to join the show. She was amazing! That's when it came to light that she was at the infamous Peekskill Riot, which she described as “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” She didn't even blame the complicit cops who made everyone coming out of a Paul Robeson/Pete Seeger concert go down a certain road where a whole bunch of people were waiting with piles of rocks. It was as if she was predicting the Jan. 6 Insurrection. There was so much in common between the two events, though the Insurrection, with its gallows and guns and murders, was even more extreme.

Corinne didn't just live through historical events, but paid attention to the context of those events. Her reminiscences taught so much American history.

Of course she was loved and admired and is missed, but some people said so in particularly heart-rending ways. Here are just a few:

  • From Alice Sutter:
    So sorry we didn’t get to serenade her with her wonderful songs. I am relieved that she didn’t have to endure prolonged suffering and debilitation at the end. She lived a beautiful long life filled with creativity, nurturing, humor and relentless activism. Her wonderful spirit will help us carry on. Sending healing wishes to the many people who loved her.
  • From Marty Rajandran:
    How sad! But a long and very productive life! I missed our times together with Lillian! But especially her careful attention to the words in the songs to ensure absolutely correct.
  • From Nydia Leaf:
    She wore both her Raging Grannies and Granny Peace Brigade hats with style and she was able to leave us with dignity and grace. A loving mother and grandmother - Corinne Willinger, Presente!
  • From Ken Gale:
    One of my favorite stories about one of Corinne's songs is the one she wrote about the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2012. The TPP would have eroded or destroyed nearly every freedom the United States has. It was written by 300 corporations' representatives, in secret of course, and no one in Congress was allowed to reveal any part of it, though activists from other countries managed to leak some of it.
  • From Julie Leak:
    Words fail me at this moment.

Our environmental story today covers the extreme economic damage climate change does and saving historic trees.

This week's environmental song is written and performed by Corinne Willinger, On Top of Old Smokey. is where you can find our DVDs and CDs with great information and entertainment and support our show – its a win-win!

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  • Eco - Logic Theme Medley
  • On Top of Old Smokey - NYC Metro Raging Grannies
  • Song for a Departed Gran - Vicki Ryder

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