New London - Eleanor Winifred (Lazarus) Piel, 94, passed away Monday night, Oct. 29, 2012, during Hurricane Sandy.
She was born on Jan 17, 1918, in the Bronx, the daughter of Anna Susling and Abraham Lazarus, both immigrants from Europe. She graduated from Hunter College, and received a master of arts degree from New York University
in 1942. After holding a civil service position in Washington, D.C., she began a teaching career in New York State and entered the NYC Public Schools system in 1946, eventually rising to principal in 1967 before retiring in 1973.
She married Irving Piel in 1952, and was with him until his death in 1991. She is survived by many great nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Eleanor was very active in the American Association of University Women and was president of the New London branch 1979-1981, and remained active for the rest of her life. Eleanor also taught business education courses at the Huntington Institute in Norwich.
Eleanor was a life member of the Lawrence & Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and Hadassah. She also was a regular attendee of the Beth El minyan; she enjoyed weekly bridge games at the Senior Center or with friends, and was involved in her Gluten-Free group and the Thames Garden Club.
A dedicated, lifelong learner and traveler, Eleanor attended many Elderhostels in the U.S. and Europe, went on two Missions with the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut, most recently, at age 92, with her friend and aide, Debbie Odom, who was at her side in her last hours.
Eleanor was an avid writer of both poems and stories and had several poems published in the Connecticut Poetry Society's journal. She wrote the social column, "Mention and Menschen", for the Jewish Leader for the last 15 years.
Eleanor was an accomplished personal computer user and enjoyed listening to opera online, following the news and doing research.
Eleanor was a feminist, an activist for many causes including the civil rights movement, and an advocate for equality. She lived a full and active life up until her very last days, and enjoyed the city of New London and all its opportunities, although she remained a "New Yorker" until the end.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, at Congregation Beth El, with a meal of healing at the synagogue following internment at Beth El Cemetery. Shiva will be observed at the Beth El at 6 p.m. on Friday, at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday.
Donations in her memory may be made to the American Association of University Women, 11 Sixteenth St., NW, Washington, DC 20036; Hadassah of Eastern Connecticut, 17 Farmview Drive, Norwich, CT 06360; Beth El Synagogue, 660 Ocean Ave., New London, CT 06329; Lawrence & Memorial Development Fund, 365 Montauk Ave., New London, CT 06320.
Byles-MacDougall Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.