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Blog Feature

By: Marissa Salvesen on September 25th, 2014

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Resident Spotlight: Eleanor Rizzo

Stories and Spotlights

Ellie_RizzoOur Resident Spotlight Blog highlights the lives and work of our UMH residents. Featuring articles written for and by our residents, this blog invites you to take a closer look into our communities and meet the special people who reside there. Enjoy!

Meet Eleanor Rizzo!

Eleanor, or Ellie, as she is called, was born in Hartford, CT and grew up there until she was married in 1952. She moved to Newington in 1954 and also lived as a resident of Wethersfield for some time until ultimately moving back to Newington later in her life.

As a child, Ellie attended South West Elementary School and later, Buckley High School. Ellie remembers, “I was pampered. I was an easy child….until I was 18.” She was very active in school and loved sports, including soccer, kickball and cheerleading. She went on to attend Merchants and Bankers Business School where she completed a two-year program before heading to Bates College and earning a degree in biology.

After college, Ellie had various different jobs. She worked as a gym teacher for a year before leaving the job because she “hated it.” She also worked at Travelers Insurance for only two weeks before quitting because she “hated it” as well. Shortly after, she also worked for her father for a month before leaving because she “had nothing in common with the women who worked there.” Ellie also worked in different positions for the State of Connecticut. She was employed as an administrative assistant in publicity before she transferred to a position with the CT Milk Administrator, where she worked for seven years. She later worked for the State Board of Education for eight years before resigning and becoming a stay-at-home mother. 

Ellie has three children. Her son, David, to whom Ellie donated a kidney, was a dentist, and sadly passed away three years ago. Her son, Ray lives in Massachusetts and her daughter, Carol lives in Wethersfield. She has six grandchildren: Elizabeth, Jonathon, Matthew, Brian, Laura and Jill, and two great-grandchildren, Decklan (who lives in Hebron) and Alex (who lives in Denmark). 

Throughout her life, Ellie belonged to a number of organizations in Newington, including the Women’s Club, Junior Women and Senior Women. She volunteered at local hospitals, including the VA Hospital, and Bel-Air Manor, a health and rehabilitation center. She also spent a lot of time working with the Boy Scouts. (Both of her sons became Eagle Scouts.) She loved to hike and had “very strong legs” and enjoyed baking cookies, though she confessed she was “always busy and never home.” In the photo above Ellie enjoys a dance with entertainer, John Paolillo.

Ellie described her husband and herself as “dancing fools” who loved nightclubs and just about anywhere with a dance floor. They also enjoyed skiing and traveling. She loves the color teal, which is evident in the way she decorates her apartment, and when asked about a favorite food, shares that she really “does not have a particular favorite food” and “will eat anything as long as it is on the plain side.” The best piece of advice she has ever received was the admonition to “be a good girl,” and if she could meet anyone in the world, she would like to meet President Obama, so she “can criticize him.” 

What Ellie enjoys most about life is taking great pride in helping her children and being a good grandmother to her grandchildren. “I have no regrets,” Ellie shares.

(Ellie Rizzo is a resident of Middlewoods of Newington Assisted & Independent Living Community.)

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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