Ithaca, NY

Eleanor Theresa Hirschberger (nee Hackett) 91, died peacefully at home surrounded by her family, in Ithaca, NY, on February 11, 2017.

One of six children born to Irish immigrants, Eleanor was born in Manhattan, NY on June 8, 1925. She attended school in Manhattan, and was the president of her class at Blessed Sacrament High School. In 1947 she married George Hirschberger and moved to Long Island, NY, settling in Syosset in 1952 with her four children, Virginia, George, Larry and Stephen.

Eleanor lived in Syosset until 2010 when she moved to Longview in Ithaca to live close to her son, Larry, and his wife, Saoirse. She loved her time in Ithaca, the community at Longview, and the sweet friendships she made here.

Eleanor loved to sing and belonged to the Sweet Adelines, an international singing group committed to advancing the musical art form of barbershop harmony. She enjoyed reading, theatre, crossword puzzles and Scrabble – but most of all she loved the company of family and friends. Eleanor treasured her family. She delighted in the wellbeing of her sisters, children, nephews, nieces, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren as well as dear friends and extended family.

Some of her children’s favorite memories of her were when we visited her sister Dorothy in Connecticut where we sat around a campfire and roasted marshmallows and made popcorn. Our cousins would tell spooky stories that scared and thrilled the kids, and we’d all sing songs that both young and old could join in on. We would sit by the fire and chat for hours. Eleanor loved those times – simply being in the presence of family and friends where words were not necessary to express her affection for those around her.

Eleanor modeled a quiet and dignified acceptance of aging and the accompanying losses and changes. Despite the heartbreak of losing her beloved daughter, “Ginny” to cancer in 2015, Eleanor, repeatedly shared how “blessed” she felt. Just a month before she died she whole-heartedly enjoyed a singing party at her former daughter-in-law, Sue’s house. Surrounded by joyful voices, kind hearts and a view of sparkling Cayuga Lake, she was in her element.

Eleanor was predeceased by her husband, George; her siblings, Felix, James, Catherine and Dorothy; and her daughter, “Ginny.” She is survived and lovingly remembered by her sister, Marge, her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews along with their partners and spouses, her Ithaca community and extended family.

We will always remember Eleanor’s patience and kindness; her quiet and loving ways; her generous spirit and we will miss her dearly. We wish to thank the staff of Hospicare for their skilled and compassionate care, Fr. Joe Marcoux of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, the volunteers and staff of Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve; Lisa Auble of Lansing Funeral Home as well as all those who have so generously supported Eleanor and her family during this time.

In lieu of flowers and in recognition of Eleanor’s lifelong practice of giving we invite you to make a contribution to Hospicare and Palliative Care Services, Ithaca, NY or to a charity of your choice.