In Memorium: Cornelia Irene Tolles

Cornelia Irene Rutgers Tolles January 26, 1945 - March 6, 2024

Cornelia Irene “Corinne” Tolles, aged 79, passed away peacefully at her longtime home in Greenwich, Connecticut, on March 6, 2024, following a long, brave battle with cancer - her daughter, and caregivers by her side. Corinne is survived by her husband, James, sister, Alma Rutgers, son, Paul, daughter, Mary, four grandchildren, nephew, and numerous cousins.

Born in New York City on January 26, 1945, to Katharine Phillips Rutgers and Dr. Frederik Lodewijk Rutgers, Corinne’s family settled in Greenwich in 1947. Corinne was confirmed at the Round Hill Community Church in 1957, graduated from the Greenwich Academy in 1962 and attended Briarcliff College, graduating with an Associate’s music degree in 1964. She then enrolled at Columbia University and in 1965 moved to Europe to continue her music studies in Paris and at the University of London. During this time Corinne was briefly married and gave birth to her son Paul Adam in June of 1966.

In 1970, Corinne returned with her son to Greenwich, and enrolled at New York City’s Julliard School of Music to concentrate on the piano. Corinne went on to become an accomplished pianist and singer, performing well into her fifties, for many artistic, religious, and charitable organizations including with the Duo Pianists of the Shubert Club, the Silvermine School of Music, the Dole Contemporary Arts Club of Fairfield County, the Greenwich Travel Club, where she served as President, and with the North Greenwich Congregational Church choir.

In 1975, Corinne married James Faulkner Tolles of New York City, and in 1978 gave birth to their daughter, Mary Evelyn. During the 1980’s she continued her music studies, publishing her thesis on Charles Ives and in 1989 graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Suny Purchase, the same year that her son Paul graduated from Syracuse University. Corinne loved the arts and all things nature - dance, theater, gardening, bird watching, cats & dogs, reading, attending lectures – to name a few. She was also very patriotic and a lifelong member of the Mary Washington Colonial Chapter D.A.R. in New York City.


Corinne was an accomplished equestrian, starting early in life at the Round Hill Stables, training under local riding legend Teddy Wahl, and competing successfully in hunter jumper shows. During her life Corinne would own four horses and was a lifelong member and supporter of the Greenwich Riding & Trails Association (GRTA), enjoying pleasure and trail riding later in life. She then became the inspiration for her daughter Mary, who built, and currently runs Labyrinth Horse Farm in Mill Spring, North Carolina, where Corinne spent many summers during her later years.

A loving wife, mother, grandmother, and sister, Corinne was also extremely generous, providing for her children and grandchildren and donating to dozens of charities during her lifetime. In 2013, she fell ill with a blood infection from which she never fully recovered. Unable to play the piano or ride a horse, Corinne devoted her remaining years to the most important things in her life - her two children, four grandchildren, and God. She especially enjoyed visiting her son’s family in Miami Beach, Florida, and her daughter’s family in North Carolina. Having faced and survived many challenges during her life, it was her unwavering faith in God that carried and uplifted her through the tough times. Corinne was often heard to say, “Jesus is my everything.”

Corinne will be remembered as a talented musician, an enthusiastic advocate for the arts, a friend to nature; for her intellect and devotion to family; but most of all for her truthful kindness, compassion, and grace. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

Anyone who knew Corinne and would like to honor her memory is welcome to attend any, or all, of the following services in remembrance of an extraordinary life:

Visitation & Viewing:

Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, 31 Arch Street
Greenwich, CT 06830, Friday, March 15, 2024, 6-9 PM

Memorial Service:

Celebration of Life @ Saint Barnabas Church, 954 Lake Ave, Greenwich, CT 06831, Saturday, March 16, 2024, 10:30 AM

Interment:

Graveside Burial Service @ Middle Patent Rural Cemetery, 64 Middle Patent Road, Armonk, NY, Saturday, March 16, 2024, 12:30 PM, directly following the memorial service

Repast:

Tolles Family Home, 2 Sidney Lanier Lane, Greenwich, CT 06831, Saturday, March 16, 2024, 2-6 PM

Visitation & Viewing
Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, 31 Arch Street
Greenwich, CT 06830, Friday, March 15, 2024, 6-9 PM

Memorial Service
Celebration of Life @ Saint Barnabas Church, 954 Lake Ave, Greenwich, CT 06831, Saturday, March 16, 2024, 10:30 AM

Interment
Graveside Burial Service @ Middle Patent Rural Cemetery, 64 Middle Patent Road, Armonk, NY, Saturday, March 16, 2024, 12:30 PM, directly following the memorial service​​​​

Repast
Tolles Family Home, 2 Sidney Lanier Lane, Greenwich, CT 06831, Saturday, March 16, 2024, 2-6 PM

Flowers, cards, or gifts may be sent to Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home in the name of Corinne Tolles, at the address above. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family suggests a donation to the Schubert Club of Fairfield County in the name of Corinne Tolles, using the following link: https://donate.stripe.com/7sI8zqgg01sRgX69AA

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