Sophie Hack MacLeod, age 23, died in Ithaca, NY, on Saturday, March 26, 2016. She was on medical leave from Cornell University, and was an employee of Argos Inn in Ithaca. Sophie was born in Johannesburg on August 23, 1992.
As the offspring of two American foreign correspondents, she spent her childhood living overseas, first in South Africa, then France, and eventually Egypt. She spoke French and Arabic as well as English. Her lifelong involvement in the creative arts included 15 years as a violin student in the Suzuki Method, 11 of them in the Cairo Opera House Youth Talent Development Program; she performed in many concerts in Paris, Cairo, and Ithaca, including a solo performance at the Cairo Opera House.
Sophie graduated in 2010 from Cairo American College, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, performed in the school orchestra, sang in the choir, played water polo, soccer, and volleyball, and served as class vice president. At CAC, she participated in school trips to Russia, Spain, and Vietnam; she counted knitting caps for the children’s cancer hospital in Cairo as one of her most fulfilling experiences.
Earlier, Sophie was an elementary and middle school student at the Lycée Français du Caire, and earned a brown belt in karate in the school’s martial arts program. In 2010, she enrolled as a Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate in Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and lived in the Risley Residential College. She excelled in artistic media from painting and drawing to photography and printing.
While at Cornell Sophie’s zest for baking and her distinctive creative talent merged into a professional pursuit in the culinary arts; for one of her first sculpture assignments she created a gingerbread house in the form of an ornate mosque. She ran the dessert counter at Madeline’s Restaurant in Ithaca for a year and a half, and was exploring a career as a pastry chef and bakery owner after completing her degree at Cornell. She was working on a cookbook about craft cocktails provisionally entitled The Prep: Handbook of Spells, Hexes, and Poisons. Sophie also operated an online vintage clothing business, EerieVintage.
With her prodigious appetite for life, Sophie enriched the lives and touched the hearts of everyone in her intersecting circles of friends and mentors in Ithaca and far beyond. She will be remembered for her fierce independence; her defense of justice and equality especially for those marginalized by society; her unwavering attachment to friends; her quirky and mischievous manner; her sweet smile and laugh; her original sense of style; her fondness for Ithaca and its vibrant restaurant scene, farmer’s market, and organic grocery stores; and her devotion to Bagel, her beloved cat.
Sophie is survived by her parents, Scott MacLeod and Susan Hack, of Cairo, Egypt; her grandparents Melvin and Rosalinda Hack, of Chicago, IL; her uncle Andrew MacLeod, of St. Simon’s Island, GA.; her aunt and uncle Laurie and Walter “Skip” Knoll, of Erie, PA; and her cousin Rachel Schneider, of Pittsburgh, PA. She was preceded in death by her grandparents Robert MacLeod, of Coraopolis, PA and Jeanne MacLeod, of Erie, PA.
Friends may call at the Burton Westlake Funeral Home, 3801 West 26th Street, Erie, PA on Friday, April 15, from 6-9 p.m., and are invited to attend a service celebrating Sophie’s life at Lakewood United Methodist Church, 3856 West 10th Street, Erie, PA on Saturday, April 16, at 12 Noon. Interment will be at Laurel Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made by check payable to the “Community Foundation of Tompkins County,” 200 East Buffalo Street, Suite 202, Ithaca, NY 14850. Contributions should be designated for the “Sophie Fund,” which will be used to support mental health services for young people in Ithaca. For more information, contact the Community Foundation at (607) 272 9333 or by email email@example.com.