On November 19, 1926, our mother Eleanor Rose Lewko was born into the close knit Irish family of William and Elizabeth Haggins. Mom had an older brother James whom she adored as well as her older sister Mary with whom mom would spend a lifetime of mischief making.
Mom’s older siblings were both born in Massachusetts, having been born in Bellows Falls Vermont, Mom would proudly proclaim that she was the only true Vermonter in her family. While growing up in Vermont, mom enjoyed riding her bicycle, playing basketball, swimming in Vilas pool, ice skating and playing tennis. Mom shared stories of high jinxes that always included her sister Mary. Mom proudly explained that her family never owned a car and that her father said they didn’t need one as he was the engineer on the Vermonter which ran between White River Junction Vermont and Springfield Massachusetts.
During World War ll mom began her lifelong journey of volunteering beginning with her role as a plane spotter for the Air Force. Mom was a graduate of the Saint Charles School and Bellows Falls High School. Following high school graduation Mom worked for the Vermont National Bank. As a young adult Mom loved traveling with her mother by train to visit her brother James in New York City. Mom was proud to have played semiprofessional basketball on the local team and having travel with the team to Missouri where they were handed a serious defeat by a Midwestern team. According to Mom the defeat was never as important as the journey itself. This was a lesson she taught us throughout our childhood.
Mom had a love of big band music which led to meeting our father William (Bill) at the famous Roseland dance pavilion. This chance meeting created a 61 year marriage and many turns on both the dance floor and around our kitchen. Eleanor and Bill raised their family on “the hill” with many other young couples. The hill was a wonderful place to grow up. There were many happy holiday celebrations and simple delights including making leaf houses in our backyard and climbing our beautiful weeping willow in the front yard. Michael was surprised one day when he ran out the front door climbing the willow. Mom following in a hot pursuit, climbed the tall tree right behind him.
Mom was delighted to be the grandmother to her favorite grandchildren Ally and Aaron. Mom and Dad enjoyed so many happy times with their grandchildren laughing, signing, playing games and answering the door for many package deliveries. Both Aaron and Ally enjoyed sliding in the backyard just as we did as children.
Mom was very proud to have visited 80 women as the Reach to Recovery volunteer. Following retirement from the Claremont Visiting Nurse Association, Mom organized the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery program for five years.
Aside from loving her children and grandchildren Mom was very proud of creating her famous cranberry relish recipe, working hard for the passage of school budgets, making an excellent cup of tea, having been the longest resident of the hill and serving as a surrogate grandmother to the children of friends who passed before her.
We hope that our Mom will be remembered for loving her three children: Michael (Brooke), Elizabeth (Dana) and James (Sara) and her favorite grandchildren Aaron (Rosa) and Ally. Mom had a generous spirit, an infectious laugh, a dry Irish wit and a most loving hug.
Mom and Dad, we will always love you, fondly remember you and smile when we speak of you.
May the road rise to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. And the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Mom and Dad we love you. Michael, Beth, James, Brooke, Sara, Dana, Aaron and Ally.
Funeral services were held Friday afternoon July 21th at the Stringer Funeral Home, 146 Broad Street in Claremont with Rev. Fr. Shawn Therrien, VF Pastor of St. Mary Church officiating. Burial followed in St. Mary Cemetery.
Donations can be made in her memory to the Arrowhead Recreational Area, C/O the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center 152 South Street, Claremont, NH 03743.
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