Eleanor R. Cassidy died at age 88 on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.
She would tell you herself that she was not a morning person. Or a November person. The brightness and warmth of spring and summer suited her better - and were more like her - than the chill of autumn or the bleak cold of winter.
She was the love and light of the life of her husband, Joseph J. Cassidy Sr., who died in February 1988, and who surely led a legion of angels to greet his beloved Eleanor at heaven's door. By his side, we know, was their eldest daughter, Carolyn M. Freeman, who died of breast cancer in April 2016. And with them were Eleanor's parents, Gregory and Dorothy Nicklaus, and the many loved ones - including her sister, Jean Thode - who were waiting for her to join them in heaven.
She is survived by five of her six children: Mary Anne (wife of Samuel Pisano, Lancaster); Joseph (husband of Kathleen Phelan Cassidy, Lititz); Suzanne Cassidy (wife of Peter Fidgett, Lancaster); Margaret (wife of Jack Poplar, Lancaster); and John (husband of Carrie Caldwell Cassidy, Lancaster).
She also is survived by 15 grandchildren (James, Joseph, Christopher, Colleen, Mary Eleanor, Katie, Emily, Joseph, Rose, Julia, Brighid, Erin, Ellie, Jake and Cooper); and seven great-grandchildren (Isabella, Seamus, Cassidy, Emma, Leo, Lucy and Lily).
And her dear siblings: Mary Anne Hanley, Dorothy Fritsch, Paul Nicklaus and Suzanne Krushinsky, all of Lancaster.
Like the Blessed Mother, to whom she prayed throughout her life, Eleanor was full of grace.
Full of love. Full of compassion. Full of wisdom. Full of joy, never more evident than when she held a baby in her arms.
She was the heart and soul of her family. She was, as one of her granddaughters put it, all that was good.
She was strengthened and guided, always, by her deep faith, which enabled her to survive the devastating losses of her husband and eldest child. She passed that faith onto her children, and as they face life without her, they are more grateful than ever that she did.
She will live on in the lessons she taught - and the legacy she left - her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. "What would Mom do?" or "What would Grandmom (or G-mom, or B-mom, or GG, as she was variously known) do?" will be the question that will guide them for the rest of their lives. They will seek to be generous, because she was. They will try to treat others with kindness, because she did.
She was always ready to offer a warm pair of gloves to someone who needed them, or to offer a comforting word to a crying child - and that child's frazzled parent - in a store check-out line.
She served countless bowls of chicken soup to her grandchildren, who spent their sick days with her when their parents were at work (they may or may not have been really sick; they may have just wanted a day with her). A voracious reader and graduate of Lancaster Catholic High School - who worked to ensure that her children all earned college degrees - she valued education. But she also knew her kids and grandkids valued the restorative power of a school day spent on her couch, in her care.
She was a constant and loving presence in the life of her family. Whether on a beach (where she truly loved to be), or in her home, her children and grandchildren loved spending time with her, assured always that she loved spending time with them.
The pleasure of her company was a treasured thing. She was quietly funny, brilliant and engaged in the world around her. She offered advice and was quick to offer help, but she was never judgmental.
She counted her blessings frequently, and urged her children to count theirs, too. They'll count her - their beautiful, loving and spectacular mom - as a blessing forever.
Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at her longtime parish, St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church, 929 N. Duke St., Lancaster. Friends and family members will be received from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. before the Mass at St. Anne's. Interment will follow in St. Anthony's Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Eleanor Cassidy's honor to the St. Vincent DePaul Society at St. Anne's, which helps to fund the church's weekday brown bag lunch program for those in need: St. Anne's Rectory, 929 N. Duke St., Lancaster, PA 17602. To send an online condolence, please visit SnyderFuneralHome.com