Eleanor Donovan Mooney, 95, fierce competitor in every aspect of her life

Eleanor Donovan Mooney
Eleanor Donovan Mooney

Eleanor Donovan Mooney, 95, passed away peacefully Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, surrounded by her loving family. She was born May 23, 1923, in Jersey City, New Jersey, into a large Irish Catholic family. She will be remembered as a loving wife, sister, daughter, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and surrogate mother/grandmother to many.

She was the daughter of John and Bridget Donovan, who she dearly loved. She had fond memories of her childhood and upbringing in the Donovan family. She married a handsome young sailor, Andy Mooney during World War II. Ellie and Andy were married for 63 years and raised a family of nine children, 18 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

To her children, she was the first person every year to call them on their birthdays. To her grandchildren, she was an inspiration and hero. To her great-grandchildren, she was affectionately known as G.G. Though dispersed across the country, the family members communicated with her regularly to hear her voice and seek her counsel. She managed seven moves in nine years as her husband’s career progressed.

She played an integral part in the Mooney’s Sporting Goods business. At each station, she was involved in school, civic and church activities. Socially and politically aware, she voted in every election as she had a deep love of country. Her faith was also most important to her. She was known as the prayer warrior, as many requested that she pray for their own personal needs.

She celebrated life with vigor. She loved a good party. The Mooney family celebrated the usual birthdays, and all holidays (Ellie loved Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day) but she made sure we celebrated grades, graduations, touchdowns, elections, promotions, new jobs, weddings, and many other life events, big or small. At 95, she was dancing at her grandson’s wedding in November. She was an example of living life to the fullest. She also loved to sing. The song When Irish Eyes Are Smiling must have been written with her in mind.

She was also a voracious reader and card player. Many thought she could count cards, as she always won. She was a fierce competitor in every aspect of her life. She cheered for all the teams’ family members competed on and was a legend on the sidelines. She knew her sports, as she was a passionate New York Yankee and Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan.

Though she had a strong devotion to her faith and country, there was no greater devotion than to her family. Her sage bits of advice (e.g., bite that tongue, if you could only put an old head on a young body) were requested by all. Her ability to soothe babies and entertain children is legendary. She loved all unconditionally.

She is survived by daughters, Noralee Schaufler, and her husband, Arthur, of Manalapan, New Jersey, Barbara Kiley, and her husband, Charles, of Mountainside, New Jersey, Kerry Mooney, and her husband, Art Mowbray, of Chesapeake; sons, Andrew of Chesapeake, Brian, and his wife, Janet, of Virginia Beach, John, and his wife, Margaret Klarman, of McLean, Bob, and his wife, Pat, of Richmond, Tim, and his wife, Sara, of Seattle, Washington, and Kevin, and his wife, Anita, of Fairfax; grandchildren, Jill Lennox, and her husband, Tom, Shannon Murphy, and her husband, Mark, Kerry White, and her husband, Steven, William Schaufler, and his wife, Suzanne, Matthew Mooney, and his wife, Rachael, Gary Mowbray and Karly Dixon, Brian Mowbray, and his wife, Jill, Mike Mooney and Angela McGlone, Nora Long, and her husband, Dave, Kevin Mooney, and his wife, Sarah, Jack Mooney, and his wife, Taylor, Patrick Mooney, and his wife, Sara, Daniel Mooney, and his wife, Meaghan, Kathryn, Kate, Caroline, Matthew and Grace; and great-grandchildren, Ryan, Caitlin, Erin, Andrew, Emma Rose, Marc, Andrew, Timothy, Ellie, Callen, Carter, Conor, Benjamin, Nicholas, Alice, Bailey, Kamden, Brendan, Aiden, Maggie, Charlotte, Charlie, Henry and Bridget.

We also wish to thank Ruth Conover for faithfully bringing her Holy Communion every Sunday. We wish to thank seven magnificent women who assisted mom and became members of our family in the process, Liz Thurman, Gail Bridges, Roxanne Wright, Crystal Johnson, Sara King, Jackie McCormack and Suzy Fichter.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30, at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Laskin Road Chapel. A Mass of Christian burial will be conducted at noon, Thursday, Jan. 31, at Star of the Sea Catholic Church with Father Esteban DeLeon and Monsignor Frederick Elkin officiating.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Star of the Sea Catholic Church.

Share online condolences with the family at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.

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