Eleanor Theresa Woolard
March 29, 1923 – November 15, 2020
Eleanor Theresa Woolard (nee Pennise) passed away peacefully at the age of ninety-seven on November 15, 2020 in San Mateo.
Eleonora Pennise, was born in a tiny house on Edna Street in San Francisco, the only daughter of immigrants from Piedimonte Etneo in Sicily, Leonardo Pennise and Rosa Barbagallo. Eleanor always commented on her parents' ethics of hard work and decency. Eleanor did not learn English until she attended grammar school. She attended Balboa High School in San Francisco while working at a bakery on Mission Street in the Excelsior District. After graduation, she began her first full time job working in an office on Montgomery Street in the City's financial district as a file clerk. She then became a bookkeeper at the Purity Store headquarters on Sansome Street across from Pier 37 where she was a bookkeeper during the day and also worked nights for the St. Francis Hotel on Union Square as a dining room hostess during WWII. In 1946 Eleanor met and married William Perkins Woolard, a Florida native, who was known affectionately as "Perk." He had just returned stateside from the war in the Pacific where, like so many others, had served with distinction and valor. They moved to the Naval Air Station in the Mojave Desert where they lived in a government Quonset hut that Eleanor described as "cute and living there was kind of an adventure." After Perk was discharged from the Navy they returned to San Francisco and learned that Eleanor was pregnant with their first child. Leonard was born in 1948, followed by Billy in 1953, Donald in 1955 and Rosalinda in 1959. Though both Billy and Eleanor's mother Rosa died during the early years of their marriage, the young couple stayed strong, working hard, and instilling their children with solid values.
While Perk worked for an RCA Victor distributorship in San Francisco, Eleanor successfully raised her children, all of whom attended Catholic grammar and high school in San Francisco. As her children grew older, Eleanor was able to return to work and took a job in the insurance industry working for the California State Automobile Association on Van Ness Avenue in the City. Eleanor worked there until she retired in 1988.
As a testament to the structured home environment that Perk and Eleanor provided for their children, all three children went into law enforcement for long term careers. Eleanor took pride in their chosen careers and valued their accomplishments.
Eleanor had been active in the Corpus Christi Parish and School where all three of her children attended and was a member of the Mothers' Club and she and Perk were members of the St. John Bosco Club where she enjoyed all the social interactions and gatherings that typified the parish activities. Summers were spent at the Napa Valley Ranch Club much to the satisfaction of her children who enjoyed the myriad of available recreational activities especially fishing and socializing with other children of their own respective age groups.
Eleanor was pre-deceased by her parents, her brother Salvatore (Sam), her infant son William Perkins Woolard, Jr. and in 2006, Perk, her husband of 59 and a half years. She is survived by her sons Leonard (Charlotte) of Sonoma, Donald (Virginia) of Manteca and her daughter Rosalinda, who now resides in Valencia, Spain. Also survived by grandchildren Donee E. Woolard and William R. Woolard (Laura) and five great grandchildren William K. and Chessie Canfield, Noah, Emery and Leona Elizabeth Woolard.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Sterling Court Assisted Living for their kind and compassionate care of Eleanor for the past nine years. Eleanor enjoyed the social atmosphere and environment at Sterling Court and was able to make many new friends and reacquainted herself with some old friends, including several who were high school classmates. Eleanor's live-in companion, her ever friendly Pomeranian "Mia," who also enjoyed meeting and interacting with all the wonderful people at Sterling Court, stayed with her until very recently and Eleanor said good bye to her only 2 days before her passing.
Due to current health restrictions, services will be limited.
Those wishing to donate a charitable contribution in Eleanor's memory may make it to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
at 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or online at www.stjude.org