Cecelia Eileen Rinc passed October 2, 2012, of head injuries sustained in an accident on the North Road. She was 88 years of age. To celebrate her life, a memorial will be held October 10, 2012, at 5 p.m. at the Kenai Elks Lodge.
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Eileen was born June 17, 1924, in Leadville, Colorado, to Emmett Paul and Cecilia Winifred (Thayer) Connors. Eileen and Elvin Christian "Buck" Oelrich were married Nov. 26, 1942, making their home in the Montezuma Mountains and the Natarita area of Colorado with their four children. Following Buck's death in 1955, she and the children moved to Rifle, Colorado, where she married James Harry Schaeffer and little Denny was born. They lived on the western slope of Colorado, primarily in Grand Junction. She and her former husband, Dick Rinc, moved to Kenai, Alaska in 1967.
Eileen worked and was deeply involved in community service all her adult life. She was a telephone switchboard operator in a small mining town. She was the receptionist and program director for KSTR radio.
After coming to Alaska she was employed as a secretary for an insurance adjuster and served for many years as a secretary and office manager for Marathon Oil Company. She has been deeply and lovingly rooted in Kenai for about 48 years.
She was a member of the Pioneers of Alaska, and of the Desk and Derrick Club, where she served as president during the 1970's. She was part of the Nikiski Senior Center, and an active member of the North Peninsula Chamber of Commerce where she served for years on their scholarship committee. In 2007, she received their Longevity Award. She was active in the Elks Club of Kenai, and as a member of the Emblem Club was involved for years in their Friday night fish fry. Eileen liked to travel and recently returned from a family reunion in Colorado. One of her most memorable trips was a visit to Ireland, the land of her grandparent's birth.
She was preceded in death by many dear friends in the Kenai area, of whom she spoke frequently. Her feistiness and spirit lives on through her children: Larry (Irwina, deceased) Oelrich of Fredricksburg, Virginia; Rick (Sally) Oelrich of Soldotna; Dale Oelrich of Ecuador; Gwen (Barry) Brimhall of Murrieta, California; and Dennis (Laurie) Schaeffer of Kenai; her brothers Francis (JoEllen, deceased) Connors; Donald (Millie, deceased) Connors; Bob (Ruby) Connors and Emery (Linda) Connors, and sister Pat (Walt) Sipple, all of Colorado, and 6 grandsons, 11 granddaughters, 16 great-grandsons and 13 great-granddaughters and many nieces and nephews and loving friends.
Sadly, the "Feisty Grandmother" won't be running for president this year. She has loved and been loved deeply and her witty presence will be sorely missed by all who knew her. In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund has been set up. If you wish to contribute you can do so at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Account #1105534.
Published in The Peninsula Clarion on Oct. 8, 2012