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Eleanor Nolan Sarsfield
Viewing: Friday, August 14 from 10am until 11 am at church
Service: Friday, August 14 at 11 am
Location: St. Andrew Apostle Catholic Church

Peacefully on August 7, 2015, at her home in Riderwood Village, Silver Spring, Maryland, Eleanor Nolan Sarsfield entered her eternal reward embraced in the love of her family and friends. The lasting legacy of this beautiful and beloved woman is the incomparable gift of joy she shared with every person she encountered.

 Born February 23, 1935, in Coatesville, PA, Eleanor was the daughter of a Veteran?s Administration dentist and a nurse, James Ignatius and Margaret Haggerty Nolan. Eleanor spent five years in Roanoke, VA, during World War II and moved to Washington, D.C., at age 10 where she attended St. Gabriel Catholic School. Every Saturday, she would hop on a bus by herself, travel across town to an F Street theatre, and watch the latest musical two and a half times?to memorize the songs and dances?and still make it home for dinner. She began a wonderful family legacy at the Academy of the Holy Cross (1953), and attended Immaculata Junior College while singing at local nightclubs in D.C. and pursuing her passion for acting?including in summer stock theatre in Middleburg, VA. She was working to save money to move to Broadway when she was introduced to her friend?s brother, the kindhearted and handsome John B. Sarsfield. Torn by her love of theatre and her growing love for John, Eleanor traded her Broadway dreams for a new spot center stage as wife and mother of four beautiful children. It?s on this stage where Eleanor held the starring role?nurturing and loving her late husband of 55 years, their children and grandchildren. She was a longtime parishioner at St. Andrew Apostle Church and volunteered to direct plays at the school. Fittingly, her best work was an original play,  ?Broadway Dreams.?


Over the years, Eleanor and John advocated tirelessly for children with disabilities, including their son, Johnny, and were part of the first movement to ?de-institutionalize? in Maryland. Endless phone calls, letters, meetings with the governor, and testifying before Congress helped lay the groundwork in creating today?s group homes and inclusiveness for all people. When the children grew up, she went back to work in the alumni office of The Catholic University of America, where she was privileged to prepare for and attend the 1979 visit of Pope John Paul II. But her grandchildren will remember her best for her famous chocolate chip cookies, hosting ?Ellie?s Nursery School,? and regaling us all with laughter. And every person she met?from friends to cashiers, workers, or simply someone she passed in a hallway?left a conversation with her enriched because of her genuine interest in them. 


She was predeceased by her husband, John, her sisters, Sally Belair and Mary Elizabeth Donahue and her brother, James G. Nolan. She is survived by her devoted children Mary Margaret (Rich) Regan, John Christopher, Martin (Dawn), and Annmarie (Brian) Edwards; her beloved grandchildren, Christine (Tim) Galginaitis; Jim, Margaret Rose, and Elizabeth Regan; Katie, Patrick, Matt and Teresa Edwards; a great-grandchild, Anne Marie Galginaitis; and many beloved nieces and nephews. The family will receive family and friends on Friday, August 14 at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew Apostle Catholic Church, 11600 Kemp Mill Road, Silver Spring, MD 20902, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Interment Gate of Heaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to St. Joseph?s House, 1505 Cody Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20902 or to Little Sisters of the Poor, 4200 Harewood Road, NE Washington, D.C. 20017.



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DeVol Funeral Home