A lifelong resident of Stamford, Eleanor Banks was born on May 28, 1925, to Vincent and Ersilia (Tartaglia) Lopiano. She passed away at age 96 on Saturday, October 9, at Stamford Hospital, after an intense bout with COVID.
Eleanor, also called “Helen” and “El” by friends and family, attended Stamford public schools. She soon went to work at Northam Warren Corporation, a major cosmetics company which had recently relocated to Stamford’s industrial area. With the coming of World War II, the company pivoted to the manufacture of aircraft parts and Eleanor continued war work with them throughout. When the war ended, El left work to help her mother with the difficult tasks of managing and caring for their large household.
In 1954, Eleanor married William Banks and they were a devoted couple until his death in 2002. Their home was always open to family and friends who could count on a warm welcome with cheerful conversation over coffee and treats. Eleanor was a great cook who especially excelled at large holiday dinners. Every guest knew they simply could not leave without a “goodie bag” filled to overflowing. If Bill went hunting with friends for a day or two, Eleanor was sure to pack them enough food for a week.
For more than 30 years, Eleanor enjoyed weekly league bowling outings with her friends, treasuring every winning game and every team trophy. She was particularly proud of the time her last-frame strike won the game and possibly the tournament for her team. From the 1930’s on, Eleanor also had a lifelong love of movie stars, especially the “glamorous” ones . As a girl she kept huge scrapbooks and as an adult she continued to follow all the details of their lives, amazing others with her extensive recall.
Most of all, El was known as an energetic and gregarious person, ever loyal to her family and her many friends, always there to help you in times of need.
Besides her loving husband and parents, Eleanor was predeceased by her five brothers – Patrick, Joseph, Thomas, Albert and John – and three sisters – Jennie Cassone (John), Vera Casciari (Gene), and Virginia Dombrowski (Robert). She is survived by one sister, Anne Sessa (Jerry), along with many beloved nieces and nephews and their children.
Although it was COVID that finally took her life, Eleanor had struggled throughout her later years with many medical problems, not least surviving breast cancer at age 85. The family cannot thank her many caregivers enough, with special gratitude to her niece Elisa Dombrowski and to Cendy Bony, Janice Jenkins and Thania Christopher.
Funeral arrangements will be private and are being handled by the Nicholas Cognetta Funeral Home and Crematory. If one wishes, contributions may be made in Eleanor’s name to the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Mail Code 6895, P.O. Box 7247, Philadelphia, PA, 19170-0001