Jul 27th 1933 - Feb 25th 2013
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Eleanor Pyne experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer. She was a woman who was always on the go, and as her family and friends can attest she always liked to look her best. Although she was petite, Ellie had more than enough spunk to go around as she has even been described as a firecracker. Throughout her life she had a keen appreciation for the finer things, and she was always out on the town for as long as her health allowed. There was no one quite like Ellie.
Life in the 1930s was filled with great trial and tribulation due to the unrelenting grip of the Great Depression. With an unemployment rate that soared to over 25 percent, countless Americans found themselves without work, willing to do whatever they could to make ends meet. Despite the harsh conditions around them, a young couple from Dunbar, Pennsylvania, was blessed with the birth of a healthy baby girl on July 27, 1933. Baby Eleanor was welcomed into the world by her parents, Paul and Eleanor (McGarrity) Alexander, and was raised in the family home in Dunbar, located in the Southwest corner of the state alongside her siblings.
From an early age Ellie, as she was usually known, had an insatiable zest for adventure. She loved climbing trees, dancing, singing, and playing the piano. It was also during her formative years that Ellie uncovered her lifelong passion for shopping. She attended local schools while her father worked and her mother was the organist for a local Catholic church. Ellie went on to graduate from Dunbar Township High School in 1950.
Life was forever changed for Ellie when a romantic relationship began blossoming with a young man whose family was well acquainted with her family. His name was Joseph Barboline, and after dating for a time he and Ellie were married. Over the next several years the couple welcomed children into their lives, and they moved to Flint, Michigan, where he worked as an executive at General Motors.
An independent and driven woman, Ellie found her sweet spot in the work place while continuing to raise her children with Joe until they divorced. She took some college courses in business, and she also worked in local department stores and doing some office work a bit later. Ellie later earned her real estate license and Certified Property Management (CPM) credentials, working for many years in Kalamazoo.
In the late 1960s Ellie’s life turned a different corner when she worked with a man named Don Pyne. They later married and moved to Kalamazoo. Ellie and Don were two peas in a pod who shared many of the same interests. They loved boating on the sailboat that they kept in South Haven, and they also loved golfing together and were members of the Elks in Kalamazoo. Both Ellie and Don were excellent HAM radio operators with her call sign being KS8F. They enjoyed biking on their custom made bikes, and they loved traveling to warmer places as Ellie enjoyed sunbathing. Some of their destinations included Hawaii, Jamaica, and Mexico among many others.
As people who loved being active, Ellie and Don were always on the go together. They played both tennis and racquetball, and in the winter they did some cross-country skiing and some camping. Ellie and Don even went rock climbing together. When at home they raised bees and sold honey for a time, but it never really mattered what they were doing as they had so much fun together in everything they did. Matters of the home were never really Ellie’s strong suit, so she and Don ate out every meal, which was good since she never really kept any food in the house to speak of. In fact, she even used her oven for a filing cabinet! When it came to foods, Ellie especially loved Greek and Italian. Because she preferred to always be doing something, she was not at home any more than she needed to be, and she rarely had anything to do with watching television. Ellie enjoyed going to art fairs and shows, and no matter where she was going she was always dressed to the nines down to every accessory with her hair freshly coifed each week and just the right makeup.
Life was not without times of trial for Ellie. She was deeply saddened with Don’s death in the early nineties, and she battled various health issues of her own through the years like breast cancer and a heart attack. Ellie was a fighter, though, and after Don’s death she was able to become more involved at her church, St. Thomas More Parish, and she also had more time to spend with her daughter, Susan. Together they often spent the weekends shopping, shopping, and more shopping, often in the lakeshore area. Ellie also became more active in ballroom dancing.
Whether out on the town, taking in an art fair, or dancing the night away, Eleanor Pyne was always dressed according to the latest trends. Her wardrobe always made her look younger than she was, but she always was a kid at heart, too. Ellie savored the finer things like flashy sports cars, fancy jewelry, and exquisite meals in some of the trendiest places. She lived a life full of the things she loved. Ellie will be missed.
Eleanor “Ellie” Pyne died on February 25, 2013, in Kalamazoo. Ellie’s family includes: Joseph P. Barboline, Brian Barboline (Jennifer Sega), Susan Barboline, Janel Hosie, Joseph B. (Sarah) Barboline; Jessica Barboline, Elizabeth Beatty, Paul (Audrey) Alexander and Patricia Alexander. Ellie was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Pyne, and sister, Virginia Watson. Learn more about Ellie, view her Life Story film, and share in some refreshments with her family and friends on Thursday from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Dr., 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday 11:00 a.m. at St. Thomas More Parish followed by a luncheon in the church hall. Burial at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Ellie’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo or sign her memory book before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be directed to ROI (Residential Opportunities Inc.).