We want, and feel it is incumbent upon us, to describe the last few months of Raina Fehl’s life, so that her friends may have an idea of what happened to her, that they may be able to locate the last portion of her life in time and space.


During the last few years though maintaining her independence and productivity, many ailments with which Raina had lived for quite a while were intensified. This is part of the reason she left Rome in October, 2006. Walking was sometimes arduous, tiring, and treacherous.


Raina settled back into the house in Urbana, Illinois, which had been home to her and to Philipp since about 1970. She bought a Prius, joined a book club, went to a gym, and enjoyed her neighborhood. She relished the seasons of the Midwest, and the relative proximity to her daughters. She missed her friends in Rome and Rome itself, while at the same time rejoicing in her friends and her home and her work. This was characteristic of Raina’s temperament. The glorious beauty of a spring day always served to overpower melancholy. Nearly always. Raina went to work finishing the book, based on a lecture series of Philipp’s, entitled The Art of Mourning, Tombs of the Popes, which was published in late 2007.


We went (Kathy, Caroline, Ian, Peter, and Raina) to Italy in October of 2008, to see friends, to give Raina an opportunity to sort out some concerns regarding the Cicognara Project, to visit Philipp’s grave, and to permit ourselves, our eyes, to delight in the beauty which had sustained Philipp and Raina for so many years.

We flew to Bologna, and then drove to Florence, to Bagno Vignoni, Montepulciano, and then Rome.


Every moment was treasured.


After the trip, Raina flew in to Appleton, WI, with Kathy and Ian. The plan was to head for Urbana in a couple of weeks, after some recuperation. However, Raina’s health was not stable after this point. Therefore she stayed in Wisconsin. Caroline and Peter came several times, and then remained. At some times things seemed promising, but there were a lot of problems, including pneumonia, leg problems, heart failure, and then secondary infections, which, finally, she could no longer fight.


We struggled to find the way to make her well, believing until the brutal finality of death occurred that we would.


We traveled to San Francisco for the funeral, because this is where many members of our family lie, and it is the home of living relatives whose comfort we needed.


We hope to come to Rome within a year or so, to share memories and love with our friends there. Read more...

Raimond: Das Hobellied

This song was beloved by both Philipp and Raina. Raina sang it to Philipp when he reached his last days, and we sang it for Raina, as she conducted.

Please contact us and share your memories of Raina and Philipp Fehl.

Caroline Coulston

Katharine Fehl