This week we lost our beloved mother, Eleanor McAlpin, but heaven gained an Angel. On Sunday, April 26, 2020, surrounded by her family, Eleanor peacefully passed away in Coral Gables after 98 years.
Eleanor was one of twelve children born in the working class neighborhood of Port Richmond in Philadelphia to Italian and Polish immigrant parents. She left school early to help support her family and soon after, like many in her generation, moved to sunny South Florida and settled in Hialeah with her sister Evie.
It was in South Florida that she met and married the love of her life, James McAlpin. In some ways, they were complete opposites: Eleanor was a devout Catholic from the urban Northeast while James was the quintessential Protestant Southern farm boy from Florida’s rural Panhandle. But their love for each other was strong and they were united in their devotion to God and family. Together, the couple were married for fifty two years and were blessed with nine loving children.
Eleanor was a dedicated homemaker, wife, and mother. She worked around the clock to cook, clean, and most importantly, to nurture her children, often while her husband James was away earning a living for months at a time. Even more amazing is that in addition to managing her own busy household, Eleanor found the time to also care for her elderly mother, attend daily Mass, volunteer at Camillus House and host elaborate family dinners every Sunday for her ever growing family including her beloved grandchildren.
Eleanor truly lived for her family and it is fitting that she was surrounded by them in her final days. She is survived by her children: Bernadette McAlpin, Gary McAlpin, Ronald McAlpin, Charlene McAlpin, Richard McAlpin, Thomas McAlpin, Daniel McAlpin, Diane English, and Louise McAlpin. She was also the proud grandmother of twenty-five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Eleanor’s legacy will live on through her family; hers was a life truly well lived!
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Camillus House (www.camillus.org), where Eleanor volunteered, or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (www.stjude.org). A celebration of life is planned for October 2020 with more details to follow.