On Saturday morning, November 10, 2012, Eleanor Rose Heaney peacefully eternal life and was reunited with her beloved husband of 65 years, Judge Gerald Heaney. Since his death in June of 2010, Eleanor has missed him greatly each and every day. Eleanor was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 30, 1916. The oldest of three children, Eleanor was the only daughter of Rose Julia (LeClair) and Matthew Paul Schmitt. Her father introduced her to his love of baseball. He also taught her the game of cribbage, which became a daily activity for them, one they played throughout the entirety of WWII. On December 1, 1945 Eleanor married her soul mate at St. Matthew's Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. One month later they moved to Duluth, making it their permanent home. Together Eleanor and Gerald raised two children. Bill and Carol Jean. Once the children were in school Eleanor began a volunteer career at St. Mary's Hospital, which she continued for over 40 years, including President of the Hospital Auxiliary, and finally, a buyer for the gift shop. Eleanor and Gerald were faithful Minnesota Twins and UMD hockey fans. The couple also played cribbage nearly every day for most of their lives together; and, having a zest for competition, they played for money, albeit nickels and dimes. Eleanor was also a life-long member of the Duluth Women's Club, and rarely missed a chance to play bridge, a game she dearly loved. As a young woman, Eleanor and her best friend Marie Kraft traveled by Greyhound Bus across the contiguous 48 states. After Eleanor and the Judge were married, the couple traveled the world, visiting almost every continent. Later, when work kept the Judge closer to home, Eleanor continued her passion for travel, including solo adventures to Egypt, Australia, and Africa. Eleanor and Gerald did, however, make a second home of sorts together in Maui, Hawaii. For 28 wonderful years the couple spent three sunny months out of the year there. For over 50 years, Eleanor and the Judge enjoyed a fishing cabin in Canada. Several times a year they would journey to the rustic cabin, each time accompanied by close circles of family and friends. And, at the age of seven, every grandchild and great grandchild was invited to this magic kingdom. There they not only learned the art of fishing, but also witnessed the importance of togetherness and family; invaluable lessons that Eleanor and Gerald instilled in all their family. Over the years, the family accumulated the best and most precious memories there, and no conversation within the family unit is complete without reminiscing of all the good times at the cabin. Eleanor was an adored wife, cherished mother, treasured grandmother and great grandmother. She was a strong, independent, compassionate woman who was proud to be Gerald's wife, and possessed a fiery spirit that always made her family smile. She was passionate about travel, volunteer work, workers' and women's rights, education, and her family. But despite her busy life she always had time for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, never missing a chance to hold one or more in her arms. Eleanor will be eternally missed.
Eleanor is preceded in death by her parents, Matthew and Rose Schmitt, her beloved husband, Judge Gerald Heaney, and her brothers, Carrol and Richard Schmitt. She is survived by her children, William (Terri) Heaney, and Carol Jean McPherson-Heaney; her grandchildren Marcy Rees, John (Kay) Stamos, Erin (Steven) Buss, Mehgan (Silas) Binkley, Matthew (Cristi) Heaney, and Kelly (Patrick) Cossor; and 101/2 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held Thursday evening, November 15th at the Dougherty Funeral Home from 5pm - 8pm, with a Rosary starting at 5:00pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, November 16th at St. Michael's Catholic Church beginning at 11:00 am, followed by a graveside ceremony in Calvary Cemetery. The family sends heartfelt thanks to the caring staff of The Shores, the staff of St. Luke's Hospice, and a special Thank You to Father Thomas Radaich for his personal ministry. In the lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts in memory of Eleanor be made to the UMD Eleanor and Gerald Heaney Reaching Higher Scholarship, which can be sent to the UMD Development Office, 1049 University Drive, 315 Darland Administration Building, Duluth, MN 55812.Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home 600 E. 2nd St, Duluth, MN. 218-727-3555