Dr. Estelle 'Frankie' Raben, of Barrington

Posted 8/15/19

Dr. Estelle “Frankie” Raben died peacefully at home on Sunday, July 28, 2019 surrounded by her loved ones. She was 89 years old. Born in New York City on Oct 18, 1929 to British parents, …

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Dr. Estelle 'Frankie' Raben, of Barrington


Dr. Estelle “Frankie” Raben died peacefully at home on Sunday, July 28, 2019 surrounded by her loved ones. She was 89 years old. Born in New York City on Oct 18, 1929 to British parents, Dr. Raben grew up on London’s east end with her brother, Sidney Manette. During World War II Dr. Raben and her brother were relocated to the countryside, surviving the London Blitz. Because Dr. Raben was a U.S. citizen, her family was able to obtain transport out of the war zone on a U.S. Navy vessel that was torpedoed by German submarines en route to New York City.

Dr. Raben was dedicated to the idea that everyone can better themselves through education. After graduating from NYU in 1950 with a degree in English Literature, Dr. Raben went on to obtain a Masters at Teacher’s College, Columbia University in 1963. She began her career as an adjunct lecturer at Queens College CUNY where she taught English literature for 37 years and mentored countless students. While raising four daughters, Dr. Raben obtained her Ph.D. in English Literature from St. John’s University in 1983. An adventurous woman, in 1985 Dr. Raben spent the year teaching literature at Beijing Normal University in China. Always ahead of her time, Dr. Raben was a plaintiff in the landmark pay equality case Melani, et al vs. The NYC Board of Education where the CUNY Women’s Coalition fought gender-based pay discrimination and ultimately prevailed with a $7,500,000 verdict for back pay reparations.

After retirement as an Assistant Professor of English at Queens College, in 2002 Dr. Raben moved to Barrington, RI with her husband, Joseph Raben, also a lifelong educator. The Rabens worked together to develop the Brown University-based Lifelong Learning Program for seniors where Dr. Raben taught courses on literature and medical ethics. Dr. Raben’s love of learning and belief in the power of education remained undiminished throughout her life. Many people within her sphere of influence were inspired to return to school and achieve personal academic and professional excellence.

Dr. Raben is survived by her four daughters: Beth Klein, M.D., Geri Armine-Klein, Esq. and her wife, Cindy Armine-Klein; Hilary Klein, M.D. and her husband, Michael Leventhal, Esq.; Erika Klein, M.D. and her husband, Jamie Schwartz, M.D. as well as seven grandchildren, Jason Klein, Zachary and Ruby Armine-Klein, Josh and Sarah Dublin and Ben and Emily Schwartz.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Dr. Raben’s favorite charity, Doctors Without Borders.

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