The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

NewsNon-GC Events

Memorial service for Cindy Lobel on October 13th at Lehman College

We are sorry to announce the passing of Cindy Lobel (PhD 2003), our dear alumna and CUNY colleague. She will be especially missed by those in the PhD Program in History who had the pleasure of teaching her, learning with her, and attending her annual teaching workshops and her presentations at the Alumni Career Event in 2015 and the Alumni Publications night in 2017. After completing her dissertation with Prof Carol Berkin who was her advisor, she held the Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. She had two one-year visiting Assistant Professor positions, one at Barnard College and the other at Connecticut College, before joining the faculty at Lehman College in 2005. She taught regularly in the Macaulay Honors College and was appointed to the Graduate Center Masters in Liberal Studies faculty in 2017. She was a devoted teacher and shared her historical expertise with many New York museums and educational initiatives. She was the Membership Secretary of Urban History Association, who have posted a remembrance on the Metropole blog.

Her first book, Urban Appetites: Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York, won the Dixon Ryan Fox Best Manuscript Prize in 2013. She was working on a popular biography of Catherine Beecher and a monograph focusing on Thomas Downing, the African-American oyster mogul and civil rights activist.

She leaves behind her husband Peter, her sons Jonah and Ben, her mother Kaaren and her sisters Jodi, Susan and Debbie. Peter Kafka, Professor Lobel’s husband, has announced a memorial service at The Lovinger Theatre at Lehman College (250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx NY 10468) on Saturday, October 13. Service at 1pm; reception to follow.














Cindy R. Lobel died Tuesday, October 2, 2018, in the early morning hours following the day of her 48th birthday. She lived her life with purpose, peppered her conversations with a wickedly funny wit, exuded radiant laughter and a warmth and kindness that encompassed everyone she knew. Cindy was smart, creative, and passionate about causes whose purpose was to help those in need and serve the greater good. She was a beloved wife, dedicated, devoted and proud mom to her two young sons, deeply loved daughter, sister, niece and cousin, and true friend to many. Raised in Huntingdon Valley, PA, Cindy attended George School and Tufts University. She earned her PhD in History from CUNY and taught at Lehman College for the past decade, where she was a tenured professor. She was well respected by her peers and students for her generosity of time, knowledge and spirit.  The loss of the benefit of her thinking, scholarship and erudition for future historians is difficult to imagine. Cindy adored New York and gained local notoriety as a walking tour guide throughout the city. Her love of research, teaching and learning was apparent in every area of her life. Cindy’s book, Urban Appetites, Food and Culture in 19th century New York, won the Dixon Ryan Fox prize for best manuscript on New York history, and reflected Cindy’s love for history and food. At the time of her death, she was working on a second book – a biography about Thomas Manning and the 19th century New York oyster trade. Cindy was an excellent cook, loved to travel, spend quality time with her family and friends, volunteer at her kids’ schools and in the community, read, work-out, and was unbeatable at Scrabble and most word and board games. When Cindy was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer fifteen months ago, she created a blog and a support network to help her navigate the unknown and frightening world of cancer. Cindy had cancer but it did not have her. Her inspirational writings provided an up close view of this horrendous disease while mirroring her upbeat attitude and the incredible sense of humor unique to Cindy. Her impact was so great and so wide that numerous condolences received were from people who did not know Cindy personally but were impacted by her story and journey. Cindy helped others confront their own struggles and was encouraging during their illnesses even as her own health worsened. Her strength provided others with strength during both the best and worst of times. Cindy was a treasure to her family, friends and colleagues and will be missed endlessly. Cindy is survived by her husband Peter Kafka, her sons Benjamin (age 10) and Jonah (age 8), her mother Kaaren Lobel and her sisters Jodi Lobel (Denton Clark), Susan Lobel (Paul Godwin) and Debra Lobel. Also surviving are her in-laws Susan and Tom Kafka, sisters-and brothers-in-law, Judith Kafka, Kelly McGuire, Lisa and  Steven Kafka, and seven nieces and nephews. She was pre-deceased by her father, Arthur M. Lobel. A memorial service in remembrance and in celebration of her life will be held at Lehman College on Saturday, October 13th at 1 pm. Donations in her memory may be made through Go Fund Me at the following link: And please vote in November.

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message