In Memory of




Obituary for Sr. Eleanor Rathburn

Sister Eleanor Rathburn, age 91, a Sister of Mercy died peacefully on June 22, 2019 after a brief illness at St. Mary Home where she had lived since her retirement form active ministry in 2009. Born on March 25, 1928 of the late Albert H. and Anna Theresa(White) Rathburn, Eleanor was raised in Union City. After graduating from Naugatuck High School, she worked at Peter and Paul Inc. for three years prior to entering the Sisters of Mercy on June 27, 1948, Sister Eleanor professed her vows on January 22, 1951. She received a B.A. degree in Education from the University of St. Joseph then St. Joseph College in 1963 and also earned an advanced certificate in Special Education. Enthusiastically, she taught primary school children grades 1-4,in numerous parish schools throughout the Catholic dioceses in Connecticut for 34 years. She then transitioned from teaching to pursue new interests beyond the classroom. After spending some time in Pinehurst, NC to discern next steps, she returned to Connecticut and worked for V.N.A in Madison as a home health aide, volunteered at Hospice in Branford as a Hospice volunteer and discovered heartfelt joy in the opportunity to give direct service and comfort to very sick and suffering patients. She concluded her Mercy ministry in Torrington at St. Francis parish as a pastoral associate and volunteer until her retirement in 2009 to St. Mary Home. There she fostered friendship among the lonely, elderly or those in need through her optimistic disposition, ease of conversation and hearty laugh. An active person with widespread interests, she was an avid fan of college sports, particularly Notre Dame football and UConn men and women basketball teams. In addition, she was drawn to nature from woods to seashores. Eleanor loved music and relished dancing the Polka! Sister Eleanor is survived by her nephews: Donald and wife Donna Spadola of Las Vegas, NV, Thomas and wife Rebecca Spadola of Tampa, FL niece Beth and husband Tod Hammon of Phoenix AZ, several grandnieces and grandnephews and her grateful community of the Sisters of Mercy with whom she lived her vows for 71 years. A Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated on Monday, July 1, 2019 at St. Mary Home Chapel West Hartford at 6:00 p.m. preceded by calling hours beginning at 3:00 p.m. Burial will take place on Tuesday at 9:00 St. Mary Cemetery, West Hartford. Those wishing to make a memorial donation in Sister’s memory are asked to consider the Sisters of Mercy, 25 Prescott Street West Hartford, CT 06110. Sheehan-Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home, West Hartford has care of the arrangements. Online condolences may be made at