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Eleanor A. (Damiani) Shafanda

November 12, 1921 ~ October 29, 2021 (age 99)


Eleanor A. Shafanda           

November 12, 1921 – October 29, 2021

After a long and well-lived life, Eleanor A. Shafanda, 99, entered into eternal life on Friday, October 29th, 2021 at the Samaritan Keep Home in Watertown, where she had been a resident since March, 2019.

Eleanor was born on Saturday, November 12, 1921 in the Bronx, NY, daughter of Rocco and Lena (Pecora) Damiani.  Eleanor graduated from Jamaica High School in 1940 and worked as a teller for a New York bank.  She later met Richard Shafanda at Wildwood State Park in Wading River.  They married on Saturday, April 22, 1950 at St. Ann’s Church in Flushing and made their home in New Hyde Park, NY.

Eleanor will be remembered for her caring and generous heart.  To many she will be remembered as the friendly lunch lady at Parkville Elementary.  She was also a Girl Scout Troup leader and was honored leading the girls on camping trips along with many other activities.  Eleanor loved swimming and fishing with family on Eastern Long Island.  Her greatest joy was spending time with family, along with cooking and baking; especially for family gatherings, special occasions and the holidays.  In her younger years, she loved to roller skate with a group called “The Sharpy Rollers” which included her close friends.

After raising their family, Eleanor & Richard retired and moved to Spring Hill, FL.  They enjoyed the warm weather, swimming in their pool and gatherings with neighbors.  They were always thrilled when family and friends would visit them or when they could travel to visit loved ones, celebrate weddings and attend yearly reunions with Richard’s WWII Veteran Shipmates where they shared fond memories, meeting in different cities around the US. 

Eleanor participated in local “Red Hats” luncheons when they moved to Virginia Beach. She made new friends as well as reconnected with others from New York, after she and Richard joined the Roma Lodge.  She liked to knit and crochet, along with many other crafting projects which she gifted to family and friends.  She also donated her projects to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and Siamese Cat Rescue Center in Virginia Beach.  Eleanor had many special friends and neighbors when residing at the Sullivan House.  She and Richard enjoyed attending Church services, and sharing in many events such as birthday parties and ice cream socials together.

She loved all animals and had many pets throughout her life which she treasured dearly.  She had a special place in her heart for her beloved cat “Angel” who lived with her for 17 years.   Those who knew Eleanor, knew she had a sweet tooth and loved baked goods, candy, chocolates, marshmallows and ice cream.  She would especially enjoy her marshmallow peeps and Hershey kisses which she would hide in her dresser drawer.

Eleanor was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt & friend. She is lovingly remembered and will be greatly missed by her family and friends, including many beloved nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.

She is survived by her two daughters and their husbands, Jan and Mike Gimmi, Monroe, NC,  Lenore and Michael Hellis, Three Mile Bay, NY;  and her two grandsons, Michael and Julian Gimmi.  Eleanor was predeceased by her loving husband Richard of 67 years.

The family would like to express their sincere thanks to the staff of the Samaritan Keep Home, especially the 5th floor staff and to all of Eleanor’s caregivers over the last several years.  A special thanks to Lynn, for her dedication, compassion and support shown to Eleanor and her family.

Services and interment will be held in the spring of 2022 on Long Island, with a date and time to be announced by family.

In lieu of flowers, for those who wish, contributions can be made in Eleanor’s memory to either the American Cancer Society, Caring for Cats Foundation (PO Box 72, Three Mile Bay, NY 13693) or Paws4Potter (16798 County Route 53, Dexter, NY 13634).  Friends and family are welcome to share memories and offer condolences online at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Eleanor A. (Damiani) Shafanda, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Eleanor A. (Damiani) Shafanda


American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City OK 73123
Tel: 1-800-227-2345

Caring for Cats Foundation
PO Box 72, Three Mile Bay NY 13693

16798 County Route 53, Dexter NY 13634

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