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This memorial is sponsored by:

Rob Golden

Memorial created 03-20-2013 by
Rob Golden
Rena Golden
March 30 1961 - March 20 2013

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03-21-2013 6:08 PM -- By: Patricia Kelly,  From: Brussels  

Dear Rob

My heartfelt sympathy to you and your children, I am so sorry to hear of your loss.


03-21-2013 5:59 PM -- By: Ashna Rahman Haque,  From:  

I would always hear from my mom about one of her first cousins that was a CNN reporter and it would amaze me every time. I looked forward to the day I would get to meet her but now I regret that the day will never come. I really wish I had gotten to know you, Rena Khala. I pray that your soul rests in peace and that your family is able to cope with this loss.

03-21-2013 5:58 PM -- By: Jennifer Pifer Bixler,  From: CNN  

Rena was generous with her time and talent.  I invited her to coffee many years ago in hopes of getting career advice, but Rena suprised me.  Instead of talking, she listened and asked me questions.  As I have mentored young women and men over the years, I have tried to follow Rena's example.  Just listen.  My prayers are with all of you who loved Rena so dearly.    

03-21-2013 5:50 PM -- By: Zain Verjee ,  From: London  

I have accomplished what I have because of Rena Golden. She took a chance on me and hired me from a local Kenyan TV network with virtually no experience at 25.  She told me she saw potential and was willing to take a risk.   Rena was my mentor and my friend.  She gave me so many opportunities to grow and encouraged me to move to Washington from Atlanta and subsequently to London.  She was full of life, laughter and love.  The last time I met Rena was over Chinese food at Union station in DC.  She was excited about the new chapter in her life, spoke of her family, changes in the world, personal growth and, in particular we laughed over her son Adam's old passion for magic tricks.  My heart and thoughts are with you, Rob, Adam and Sabrina during this desperately difficult time.  I'm heart broken like so many of my colleagues, who Rena touched so deeply, warmly and authentically.  We love you Rena.  I think you would like this.

Kahlil Gibran: 

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

03-21-2013 5:36 PM -- By: Barbara Reilly,  From: Atlanta - GSU  


I had the distinct pleasure of teaching Rena in two EMBA classes at Georgia State University in the fall of 2009. Rena was brilliant, insightful, confident, and honest.   She was a leader among leaders and a friend to all.  Her executive presence filled the room as she spoke freely, shared stories from CNN, and delighted us with her candor and wit. Rena was a part of a special group of students who gave me one of my most treasured possessions, the most amazing gift I ever received as a professor, a personalized authentic fireman’s helmet, signed by all my Class of 2010 students.  The story is too long to reproduce here…but this gift is one of my most cherished and prized possessions, on a short list of objects I plan to have with me until the day I die. Rena’s signature is notable in that it is one of the few that includes a note, “Great Class!” and it is the only one signed with X’s and O’s!  Although Rena was an award winning journalist in a business environment, she wasn’t afraid to let her heart shine through! She was a loving, caring, person at her core and this showed in everything she did.  I am so sorry to hear of her passing. 

03-21-2013 5:30 PM -- By: Nigel Pritchard,  From: Former CNN  

Dear Rena, you were a true force of nature in the very best of ways. So many people family, friends, and colleagues and millions who never met you, but benefited from your journalism, will miss you very much.

03-21-2013 5:28 PM -- By: Debra Daugherty Woelfel ,  From: Alumna of CNN Int'l Desk and CNN World Report  

 Dear Rob, 


Rena was a great mentor and friend for 29 years — one of the most positive and brilliant individuals I had the honor to know.  She loved life and never took it for granted. I will miss her dearly. 


 I hold you, Sabrina and Adam in my prayers. 




03-21-2013 5:19 PM -- By: Maria White,  From: CNN  

I am so sorry to learn of Rena's passing. It was my honor to know her. Rob, prayers to you and to your family.

Maria White

03-21-2013 5:18 PM -- By: Stephen Meyers,  From: New York  

My deepest sympathy for the loss of your beautiful Rena. She was a true blessing.  Remember, she will always be with you.

03-21-2013 5:15 PM -- By: Andrew Holtz,  From: Portland, OR  

I'm so sorry.

03-21-2013 5:13 PM -- By: Bob Franken,  From: Washington DC  

As a professional, Rena was tough, decisive and always calm. As a friend she was she was gentle, warm, perceptive. In other words she was an amazing example of class. My life is better for knowing her. She made us all better.

03-21-2013 4:58 PM -- By: Tracy Shea,  From: NY by way of ATL  

 So much has been said by so many who knew Rena.  CNN is one of those places that you can leave, but it cannot leave you.  We are all only here for a short time.  Rena Golden was one of the great leaders, mentors and colleagues that many had at HQ in ATL.  God Speed and Fair Winds.  Peace, love and hope to Rob and the family.

03-21-2013 4:30 PM -- By: Usha Tewari,  From: Orlando  

Dear Rob, Adam and Sabrina,

I am truly saddened to hear this news.  Just last month, I was going through my family photos and came across photos of Rena in NC with the family and at your wedding.  These cherished memories and family updates from uncle and auntie will always put a smile on my face. I am honored to have known an extraordinary woman like Rena who had such a strong global impact.  My heart goes out to all of you xx

03-21-2013 4:24 PM -- By: Wade Ricks,  From: Former CNN Atlanta colleague  

03-21-2013 4:15 PM -- By: Barbara Zamost,  From: Mill Valley, Calif.  


I am so heartbroken for the Golden family.  Rena was such a beautiful, warm and intelligent woman.  I remember when you fell in love not long after we graduated from college.  You two were the real deal - so much love and devotion. You raised two wonderful children together - Adam and Sabrina were lucky to have such great parents and role models.

Sending love and deep sympathy for this incredible loss to your family and to all who knew her.



03-21-2013 4:10 PM -- By: Elaine Widner,  From:  

Dear Rob and Family -

I am so sorry for your loss.

May the sorrow you feel in your hearts lighten by the love that surrounds you now and always.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

03-21-2013 4:00 PM -- By: Mark Sacher,  From: former CNN colleague  

My sincerest condolences to Rena's loved ones.  She was a wonderful person to work with.  I know her family must be proud of all of her personal and professional accomplishments.  She will be greatly missed.  Rest in peace, Rena.

03-21-2013 3:53 PM -- By: Welby Rouse,  From:  

Prayers for family and friends.

03-21-2013 3:40 PM -- By: Mary Helen Martin Bernknopf,  From: Atlanta  

I feel blessed to have known Rena.

Rena and I worked together in the early days of CNN, and I have such fond (and funny) memories. It's obvious from all the entries here that she touched so many lives. She left us way too soon, but clearly she lived a very full and rich life. 

 I always admired her intelligence, determination and grace. I find it hard to believe she is gone.

To Rob and the family -- much peace and love.

03-21-2013 3:27 PM -- By: chris and nina cramer,  From: atlanta  

 The Cramer family loved you and you understood better than most what it meant to suddenly lose a loved one. Your support over the years has been extraordinary.  Nina and I believe you are now in a much better place and our love and support for Rob and the family will be constant. 

03-21-2013 3:20 PM -- By: Barton Drake,  From: Decatur, Ga  

My friend Roy Wadia spoke so highly of her . I enjoyed the article and the pictures even more !  My prayers go out to you all . sincerely Bart

03-21-2013 2:51 PM -- By: Frida Ghitis,  From:  

Dear Rob,

...heartbroken to hear the news. May Rena's memory  remain a blessing to you and your children. She was an amazing woman and an enduring inspiration.



03-21-2013 2:49 PM -- By: Dan Ronan,  From: Washington, D.C.  

Rena and I worked alongside each other at CNN for many years and she was a "pro's pro."  Smart, precise in the way she produced a newscast, and she listened to her team and treated people with respect and friendship. Rena set the bar high for herself and everyone around her.

She was a leader and outside of work she loved her husband Rob and their children so much.  Lori and I are very saddened to learn of Rena's passing and she, Rob and their family will be in our prayers.

Dan Ronan and Lori Waffenschmidt

03-21-2013 2:49 PM -- By: Cathy Kononetz,  From: Atlanta  

I feel fortunate to have been among the many at CNN who worked with and learned so much from Rena.  She was an inspiring leader who touched many lives and made so many of us better.  I'm so sorry to hear she lost her battle far to soon.  My thoughts and prayers are with Rob and her children.  

03-21-2013 2:48 PM -- By: Holly Hanchey,  From: Atlanta  

I was always in awe of Rena, because she had such a presence about her.  One day while in the middle of a tough discussion about something ad related on CNN.com, I stopped and asked her about a picture of her kids in her office, and her face just lit up as she spoke about them.  That's how I'll remember her - classy, honest, fair, great at her job, and madly in love with her family. 

03-21-2013 2:40 PM -- By: Terry Baddoo,  From:  

Very sad to hear this news. I worked with Rena for many years when I was a sports guy at CNN International. She was always approachable and encouraging, didn't trivialize sport's place on the news landscape, and was respectful of our expertise. A class act. RIP.

03-21-2013 2:38 PM -- By: Debra Daugherty Woelfel ,  From: Alumna of UT, CNN Int'l Desk and CNN World Report  

Rena Zeya was a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin school of journalism in 1984. That year,  as an undergraduate, I asked her to be my mentor.  Mentor she did!  For three decades Rena demanded excellence and full commitment.  She and Rob helped me learn and grow on the desk, in the field and on camera. The pressure was on, yet I always felt supported and respected. Rena led me — and countless others— to succeed at a higher level. She could be silly and funny, too.  What an extraordinary role model for all women. Over lunch last month, I told Rena that if Sheryl Sandberg writes a sequel, the book title should be, Lean In, Like Rena. My life’s mentor leaned in like no other. 

03-21-2013 2:34 PM -- By: Eliott,  From: Atlanta  

She loved a good story and always put her troops first. I remember frequently sitting in her office arguing the finer points of a story -- not the broad scope, mind you; she was always familiar with the gritty details. If you dropped the ball, she'd tell you how to hold onto it better. If you did well, she was the first to let you know, and not with an "Attaboy" but with a "Congratulations!" as if you'd just graduated or gotten married. I always sensed that was because she believed executing a truly great story was a feat, an event. Even after her time at CNN, she'd drop her old writers notes to say she enjoyed one of their pieces. I'll miss her tutelage and guidance. I'll miss how she listened when she didn't agree and defended you when she did. It's sad she was taken so soon but remarkable she left an indelible legacy with her too-brief career.

03-21-2013 2:25 PM -- By: Miranda Hitti,  From: Atlanta  

I'm so sorry for your loss. You'll be in my prayers.

03-21-2013 2:19 PM -- By: Clint Deloatch,  From: Former CNNer and a fellow Carolina Alum  

I am deeply saddened by the loss of our sister and former co-worker Rena.  It was a joy to work with her from the time she first came to CNN in the 1980s.  Like many of you, I've known her since before she and Rob had kids.  Rod, you and the children and the extended family are in my prayers.  May God strengthen and keep you through this difficult time. 


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