Estelle Hecht Geller died on November 27, 2022. She was born in Brooklyn, New York on New Year’s Day 1927 to immigrant parents Julius and Eva (Knobler) Hecht. Her brother Max, sister-in-law Bess, and husband Lester of seventy-three years predeceased her. With her father and brother, she shared a lifelong fascination with nature and the cosmos. At age fifteen she was graduated as valedictorian from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn and later that year matriculated at Cornell University. She completed both a bachelors’ and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree concurrently by age twenty, still too young to practice veterinary medicine in New York. Estelle was a pioneer among women in veterinary medicine, one of the first hundred in North America, and the first to be boarded in laboratory animal medicine. She was also boarded in veterinary pathology. Throughout her career, she was very engaged with the progress of women in veterinary medicine, and was a charter member, historian, and, for a time, activist in the Association for Women Veterinarians. After a brief stint at the Bronx VA, she became the founding Director of the Animal Institute at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in The Bronx, serving for more than thirty-five years. During a sabbatical she completed an MPH at Columbia University. She loved the museums and live theater of her lifelong home in New York City, and traveled the world with conservation and veterinary outreach groups, exploring flora and fauna, and chasing eclipses. Late in life she and Lester joined an assisted living community in West Hartford, CT. She is survived by her children, Barbara of Boston MA, Mark (Marie Ganott) of Pittsburgh PA, and Jeremy (Manisha Desai) of Vernon CT; grandchildren, Pierce, Margot, Miquel, Ishan, and Ilan; great-grandchildren, Zelda and Felix; and seven nieces and nephews. Donations in her memory may be directed to Earthjustice.
Donations in her memory may be directed to Earthjustice.