Eleanor Kandler Rodda, a Wyoming Valley resident for more than six decades, died on Sunday, 17 March 2019 at the Celtic Hospice of Geisinger South, following a brief illness.
A proud first-generation American, Ellie was the only child of Paul H. and Hedwig Stoeckler Kandler, who left their native Germany for the United States, along with members of their extended families, during the postwar economic instability of the early 1920s. Born on 21 May 1929 in Union City, New Jersey, Ellie grew up nearby Jersey City, where she attended public schools. She was salutatorian of her graduating class at Henry Snyder High School in Jersey City and became the first in her family to go to college, entering Douglass College of Rutgers University to study journalism in the fall of 1946.
After earning a Bachelor of Letters (B.Litt.) degree with honors from Douglass in 1950, Ellie was hired by the Young and Rubicam advertising agency in New York City, working there until her marriage to Paul M. Rodda in 1951. When he accepted a job with the architectural firm of Lacy, Atherton, and Davis of Wilkes-Barre in 1953, the Roddas moved together to the Wyoming Valley, where their three daughters were born. For the next twenty years, Ellie was a stay-at-home mother.
Ellie returned to the work force when her youngest daughter started high school. After her marriage ended, she was employed at Hilda Fenner’s Dress Shop in Wilkes-Barre. She later pursued public relations positions, in succession, with the Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre; the Religious Sisters of Mercy at College Misericordia in Dallas; and finally the Penns Woods Girl Scout Council in Wilkes-Barre. She retired from the Scout Council in 1994.
Throughout her adult life, Ellie gave generously of her time and professional talents to area non-profit organizations, including: Meals on Wheels; the Girl Scouts, as a troop leader and cookie coordinator for all three of her daughters; the Antiques Committee and the Ham-n-Yeggs Club for the Back Mountain Memorial Library Auction; the Volunteers of America, where she served locally on the board of directors; the Harvey’s Lake Yacht Club; Head Start, where for many years she read to the children on Friday afternoons; and in a variety of capacities, first for the First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre and then for Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Dallas. Most recently, she served as Secretary for the Class of 1950 of Douglass College.
While she was able, Ellie enjoyed traveling abroad. She was an active member of the Silver Sneakers group, sponsored by Geisinger Medical Center in Dallas, and the Water Aerobics Class at the Jewish Community Center in Wilkes-Barre. She served as a Water Commissioner for Kingston Township and was an avid writer of Letters to the Editor of local newspapers. In every group with which she was involved, she leaves behind many cherished friends.
Eleanor’s survivors include: her children, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Topolewski and her husband, the Rev. Dr. John Topolewski, of East Lempster, New Hampshire; Jenni Rodda and her husband Adam Loory, of Mamaroneck, New York; and Abby Aristeo and her first husband Gustavo Delgado, of Dallas, Pennsylvania; one grandchild, Audrey Aristeo, a college student in Beverly, Massachusetts; numerous cousins in both the United States and Germany; and one long-haired miniature dachshund named Fritzie. Her family extend special thanks to the staff of the Celtic Hospice of Geisinger South, who cared for her with such compassion during the final days of her life.
A Service of Death and Resurrection for Eleanor Kandler Rodda will be held at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Dallas, with her pastor, the Rev. Charles Grube officiating, on Wednesday, 20 March at 11:00 am. Visiting will be held at 10:00 am at the church prior to the service. Inurnment will be at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are under the direction of The Disque Funeral Home, 2940 Memorial Highway, Dallas. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church c/o 474 Yalick Road, Dallas, Pa., 18612 or to Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge, 974 Lockville Road, Dallas, Pa., 18612.
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