In Thanksgiving for Eleanor's Life

In Thanksgiving for Eleanor's Life

Eleanor H. passed away on Christmas Eve. Her sister has handled the arrangements, and no service is planned anytime soon. There may be a graveside service when the weather warms up.

But for her church family, that means, we hardly have the opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for her life. Michael thought it might work to simply ask those who knew and worked closely with Eleanor to write “brief thanksgivings.” Sharing them all, we’d have some sort of an alternative Celebration of Her Life even as we commend her to God’s eternal care.

~ “Eleanor was such a thoughtful, kind person, just a great woman to be around. She would come into the office every month to help with the Newsletter (along with Lois Nigsch, until Lois couldn’t make it anymore). She was always willing to come in for mailings or anything that needed to be done. We would go to lunch at 3rd & Arch for our BLTs as often as possible.

Eleanor had retired from University of Pennsylvania, and still, for years, did work for her former Boss at home.

Eleanor vacationed at a lot of interesting places with her friend Marilyn. After Marilyn died, she didn’t do much traveling. I remember some of her stories, but not what countries she visited (Nancy might remember). She just loved being apart of Old First, the church was family to Eleanor. And I always enjoyed her company.” — Rosemary Polo

~ “The first time I was introduced to the congregation, on a Saturday in May 2009, almost a full three months before I arrived as the Covenant Minister in August of that year, I met Eleanor. She came right up and introduced herself. She was very friendly and welcomed me to the church. She went on to say, “And I hear you will be coming alone. I might know someone for you.” She continued on to tell me about some nice young woman she wanted to introduce me to. Eleanor showed a deep concern for me from the beginning.

And helped even more, letting me realize that the team who had hired the Covenant Minister hadn’t shared that I am gay! When I asked them about that, they sort of hemmed and hawed, and then decided that was there responsibility, and they shouldn’t leave it to me to correct their ommission once I arrived. They did so with grace and aplomb! And I was and am still very grateful.

Eleanor never mentioned fixing me up again, but seemed to take the new information in stride. I’m thankful for her minor role in my arrival and her grace all along.” — Michael C.

~ “What I remember most about Eleanor is her attention to detail. She was meticulous in her work on the financial records at Old First. But her attention to detail did not end there. She was also meticulous about relationships. She noticed small things and could easily compliment a person about those small, positive parts of their personality. She was generous in all ways–supporting people, affirming them, always interested in little ways to show her love and care. She was generous in her own giving to the church. She was eager to do whatever she could. It was a privilege to know her.” — Geneva B.

~ “Eleanor was the first person I ever met at OFR. She was greeting the first day Sarah, her parents, and I attended OFR (11/13/94). Her kind smile and welcoming voice were my first impression of OFR and the welcoming feeling I and others get there since are an extension of her extravagant welcome! I connected even more with Eleanor when she became the Treasurer (I was on the Finance Committee) and soon I became the Assistant Treasurer and, when she stepped down, I followed in her footsteps. And she helped me along the way, with every step. As I prepare, for the LAST time, the Annual Reports and prepare myself to step down as Treasurer after more than a decade, it is fitting that she is in my memories, thoughts and prayers. I miss speaking with Eleanor, I still will use the files she created, refer to the instructions that she wrote for me, use file folders with tabs she prepared, and I will feel connected to her for as long as I have the wonderful memories of her welcome on that first day, almost 20 years ago. THANK YOU ELEANOR, and I am grateful that the fates brought me to connect with her and my community at OFR.” — Adam S.