Local Obits

Obituary of Bella Gorelaya

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Bella Gorelaya, 89, of Cortland, passed away peacefully on November 4th in Albany Medical Center.


Bella was born in the Republic of Belarus to Genya Stolpner and Yefim Livshits on June 4, 1934. Bella was a child of war, losing her father in World War II. This made her strong and resilient at a very young age. In high school, Bella became the first Jewish student to win an academic gold medal in the town of Starodub, former Soviet Union and it was a matter of great pride for her family and her community. At the University of Kyiv, Bella graduated top of her class with a red diploma, equivalent to magna cum laude. Bella was a highly decorated literature teacher who cared very deeply for her students with whom she maintained a lifelong connection. Post-retirement, Bella immigrated to the US and worked at the International Students Department of SUNY Cortland. Bella was a selfless matriarch who loved and cared for her family very much. She enjoyed traveling with friends, attending concerts, and reading a lot of books.

Bella is survived by her daughters Marina and Yelena (and husband Mani); grandkids Alisa (and husband George), Maksim, and Krish; great-grandkids Isabella, Eva, and Jack; brothers Lev (and wife Katerina) and Mark (and wife Svetlana); niece Victoria; nephews Sergey and Yefim, and dear friend Carol.

The funeral service will be held at Wright-Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Ave, Cortland on Sunday, November 12th at 10:00 AM. Burial will follow at Temple Brith Sholom burial grounds at Cortland Rural Cemetery, 110 Tompkins St, Cortland. Visitation will be held at Temple Brith Sholom on November 12th at noon.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to UNICEF’s vital emergency work to support the children of Ukraine (QR code in the slides following Bella’s picture). “Be Healthy, Be Happy”.

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