I’ve stated on a couple occasions that I’m from a large family (11 kids) and how fortunate I have been to be welcomed and included in many other families throughout my life. One such family is the Donahue/Rourke/Manning family.
As a kid of 11/12 we hung around McPherson’s park /pool. My brothers and I got friendly with the Lifeguards because we spent the day there just like they did. One of Lifeguards was Jimmy Rourke.
Six or seven years later I met Jimmy again through my friend Fr. O’Malley (I was working at the Rectory at St. Michael’s) along with Jimmy’s beautiful wife Kathy. We renewed our friendship and it extended to Kathy , their kids (Sean, Katie,Ryan and Meghan) and Kathy’s family, including her mom El who co-owned Manning’s package store with her brother Jim Manning.
I went to work at Manning’s and became part of the clan. Many Sunday’s I got to be part of El’s Sunday Cook-Out / Clam Bake / Pool Party, whatever you wanted to call it. It was a collection of family and fiends who spent the day with our host El and her husband Bill, sons James and Michael,Cousins Jim and Pattie Manning, Uncle Jim Manning , Billy Manning, Bill Donahue and anyone else fortunate enough to to be invited. Good food, the SOX on the radio and lot’s of laughs and stories. El always made you feel welcome and at home. You were part of the family and you always felt that way.
Years after leaving Manning and having my own family, I’d run into EL at the Market or after church. There was always a hug and how’s the family question or I’d be getting home from work or headed out and she would be across the street visiting Jan and Bob Lekites her longtime friends and always a big wave and smile.
Today we say good-bye to EL at her wake but she leaves behind a legacy of a great family who have touched and loved so many. She was proud of her kids and even prouder of her grandkids and great-grandkids, a role I’m sure she cherished.
Love, thoughts and prayers go out to Kathy and Jim, James and his fiancée June. Mike and Amy, to Kathy and Jim’s kids,who I’ve watch grow into talented, caring, hard working and outstanding young men and women who have their own families, Sean, Ryan, Katie and Meghan and to all her great-grandkids and many friends. She is reunited with those who have gone ahead and will know doubt be looking down with love watching over you in the days and years ahead.
The last few lines in her Obituary sums it up nicely:
Eleanor lived her 92 years with faith, love, hard work, and dedication to what was in front of her. She will be missed but her presence will be felt by the generations she has left behind.
“Our power lies in our small daily choices one after another to create eternal ripples of a life well lived.”