Eleanor Garrett, 83
Eleanor Garrett passed away peacefully on the morning of Aug. 25, 2014, at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., after a short illness.
Eleanor Garrett, age 83, was born Eleanor Jane McConnell and was the youngest of six children. She was delivered into this world by her mother’s sister, Aunt Esther, at home on Parker Street, Attleboro, Mass. on Oct. 22, 1930, to Joseph and Elizabeth McConnell. Her siblings nicknamed her “The Kid.” She was known as “Mac” on Block Island.
At the age of 15 she and her parents moved to Block Island. The house, which still stands, is located on Corn Neck Road, just south of Clay Head Trail, near Garden Pond. She delighted in telling entertaining anecdotes of her life, thanks to her extraordinary memory. Her love of dancing was sparked, at the age of five, on a passenger boat excursion from Providence, R.I. to Brooklyn, N.Y., when she peeked between balusters at the festive dancers below. While living in Attleboro, she walked into town with her mother at the age of seven to proudly purchase a brand new Macintosh raincoat and umbrella. She recalled that the wind strengthened, tree branches snapped and her pride turned to despair when she returned home miserably soaked with her inside-out umbrella. They had been caught in the Hurricane of 1938.
She told of a time when she and Edie Blane, her high school chum, snuck out through a schoolhouse window to escape from classes. Living in an island house without running water or central heat posed some challenges. Before going off to bed, her father would place warmed bricks under the sheets and, upon arising in the morning, she faced ice in the china wash basin. She said, “I would wrap myself in a quilt and run as fast as I could down to the coal-burning stove.”
Eleanor’s first job on Block Island was at the age of 14, when she worked as a soda jerk in the building then known as the City Drugstore. After she graduated from Block Island High School, she attended and graduated from Memorial School of Nursing in Worcester, Mass. in 1952 and worked as a registered nurse throughout most of her working life. In 1953, she married her first husband, Robert Lindstrom, of Worcester, Mass., with whom she bore and raised three children. In 1982, she married her second husband, George Garrett, a commercial fisherman of Wakefield, R.I., and lived with him in Narragansett before moving back to Block Island in the late 1980s. They built a home behind her childhood home on land inherited from her parents. While living on Block Island she served as Secretary of the Harbor Church, Secretary of the Block Island Conservancy, Secretary of the Double Ender Committee, Covering Secretary of the Block Island Residents Association, member of the Block Island Arts and Crafts Guild, member of the Spring Street Gallery, member of the Block Island Quilt Guild, and member of the Block Island Memoirs Group.
Through much of her life she enjoyed painting and was well known on Block Island as a talented artist whose works were displayed for many years in the Spring Street Gallery. She opened her heart to people and treasured her friends and family. Eleanor was open-minded and had an adventurous spirit.
She was preceded in death by her second husband, George Garrett. She was also preceded in death by her siblings: Mildred, Bernice, Muriel and Clarence.
She is survived by her 98-year old brother, Everett McConnell of North Attleboro, Mass., her three children, Marcus Lindstrom of Sacramento, California; Peter Lindstrom, and Lisa Landry both of Barre, Mass.; her son-in-law Jeffrey Landry; her grandson, William, son of Lisa and Jeffrey Landry, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will take place at the Harbor Church on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 1 p.m. People are encouraged to wear their favorite color to celebrate Eleanor’s love of life.
Memorial donations may be made to the Block Island Medical Center.