Flora Herrman Biele Kannerstein 1915-2006

My aunt Flora gave up her psychiatry practice when she was 64, convinced that she was developing alzheimer’s disease.  When it became apparent that she was experiencing nothing more than the normal memory lapses of advancing age, she told anyone who asked that she was going to die any day, in her sleep, from a heart attack.  She was as surprised as the rest of us when she lived through her 70’s and her 80’s.  About four years ago, she started to have a hard time living on her own and a year and a half ago, her daughter Betsy moved her up to a nursing home in New York. 

Three weeks ago, she started rapidly declining and on Monday, Betsy made the decision to move her into hospice.  Flora died last night, at the age of 91.  She was the last living connection to my grandmother and her siblings.  We will remember by her energy, her powerful life force, her love of gourmet food and her shoes

7 thoughts on “Flora Herrman Biele Kannerstein 1915-2006

  1. Ellen

    She must have been a remarkable and formidable woman to have been in Psychiatry in the times she practiced in. Am glad you and your family have such wonderful memories to get yo through memories

  2. Marisa

    Thank you all for your kind words. In my book, Flora’s death is the type that deserves celebration as opposed to sadness, as she lived a long, wonderful life and didn’t suffer at the end.

  3. Lisa Frankel

    I was sad to hear of Flora Biele’s passing, and also about how young she was when she gave up her medical practice. I am an old friend of Betsy Biele’s from political groups in H.S. in 1967-1968 I knew her mother and father and visited them at their home in Germantown and at her mom’s office in downtown Philly. (11th Street?) I had never met any woman of Flora Biele’s generation who was so accomplished and I was awed by her. I became friend’s with Betsy’s brother John when I briefly returned to Philly in 1975.
    My Aunt, Ada Gumprecht (Frankel) was involved in left wing politics with Flora Biele in New York I believe.– when? in the 30’s? I heard some of the stories. Flora Biele took a metal splinter out of my Dad’s hand (Bernie Frankel)I don’t believe she charged him anything (I think it was the Depression)
    Betsy was a dear friend – but she was a year younger than me . I think she went to NYU , I went to Harpur College and then to UCLA and have lived in L.A. ever since.
    I was Googling Betsy’s name to see what happened to her, when I came upon this. If she is interested in re-connecting, give her my e-mail (drfrankel@yahoo.com) or my cell phone 310-489-4698

  4. Paul Kane

    This is a big shot in the dark. My mother died in October. She was Betsy Biele’s aunt and that spurred me to try to track down Betsy who I have not seen in over 50 years. I stumbled on your blog. Maybe you can help. My only motivation is curiosity.


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