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Claudia Corwin, Downtown legend, is dead

Concord Village board of directors President Claudia Corwin, seen at the corner of Tillary and Jay streets in Brooklyn Heights, died this week.
The Brooklyn Paper / Sarah Portlock

Claudia Corwin, a community leader and the longtime president of the board of directors of Concord Village in Downtown Brooklyn, died suddenly on Nov. 25. She was 61.

Corwin lived in the seven building apartment complex for more than 20 years, and served several terms as board president. Until last year, she worked for 30 years as a computer analyst, her younger sister, Tracey Corwin, said.

“Claudia was truly one of the brightest people I’ve known in my life — she was better than Google,” Tracey said. “She was my own personal reference library.”

Corwin had been working at Concord Village to bring a new supermarket to the space at Tillary and Jay streets. An Associated Supermarket closed over the summer, and Corwin had said she hoped to see a market with higher-quality goods that would deliver groceries to older residents in the complex.

She was so dedicated to her board job that she put off back surgery until after the budget was due, Tracey said.

Acting Board President Helen Pearlstein added: “She really cared for the community, and she really wanted the quality of our lives to be very worthwhile here. The past two years that she’s been president, she really pushed through a lot of needed capital improvements.”

Recently, Corwin had undergone a series of four spinal fusion surgeries to correct severe scoliosis. But throughout the painful procedures, Corwin never once complained about pain and always had a smile on her face, doctors told Tracey.

Despite the complicated treatments, Corwin died from a cardiac sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that struck quickly and fatally in her heart on Nov. 25.

Corwin’s father, Emanuel Corwin, said the loss to the family is incalculable.

“She was really the lynchpin to the immediate family,” he said. “She kept in touch with all the uncles and cousins, and kept everybody abreast of everything. She was just very considerate, kind, and warm.”

But it was her Concord Village neighbors who saw her every day as a caring, constant force, like the time when the buildings got new washing machines and Corwin was concerned that older residents couldn’t reach them.

“Claudia was always looking out for everyone,” said longtime resident Tony Eglesias. “She was very sociable, and she was never at a loss for words.”

Corwin is survived by her father, Emanuel Corwin; and her sister. Her mother, Virginia, died in 1986, and her younger brother, Bart, died in 1990.

— with Christina Long

A memorial service for Corwin will take place in the spring, her sister said. Corwin was cremated. In lieu of flowers, the Corwin family asks for donations to be made to the Brooklyn Public Library in her honor, and mailed to the Concord Village management office at 215 Adams St., Brooklyn, NY 11201.

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