Mary Eileen Connors, of Hornell

HORNELL-Mary Eileen Connors, 81, of Hornell, NY passed away peacefully at home on December 31, 2019 surrounded by her family.

Born in Hornell on May 7, 1938, she was the daughter of Francis and Annabell (Hyland) Gleason.

Eileen was a graduate of Hornell High School Class of 1956 and later graduated from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing (Class of 1959). She had been a communicant of St Ignatius Loyola Church and more recently was a member of Our Lady of the Valley Parish and a communicant of St. Ann’s Church. She was a life member of the Hornell Alumni Association and also a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hiberians.

She had been employed at St. James Mercy Hospital from 1961-1963 and again in 1983-2000. After leaving St. James, she worked for three years at Barb Todd’s Daycare where she was fondly known as Grandma Eileen. She later served as a substitute school nurse in the Hornell City School District for many years.

Eileen battled breast cancer for nearly three decades, never complaining about her personal hardships while maintaining an unbelievably positive attitude even as the disease returned time and time again. She showed everyone around her how to handle life’s challenges with grace, dignity and a smile on her warm Irish face.

Despite the personal tragedies she endured in her life, Eileen never questioned her faith and was a regular fixture at church on Sunday. When things got tough, she prayed harder and harder.

Eileen adored her children and was happiest relishing the simple moments of sharing stories and laughing around the kitchen table or campfire. She relished the opportunity to attend her grandchildren’s upcoming sporting events, graduations, band concerts, plays and dances, always around to cheer them on or lend an encouraging word.

Having the humility to laugh at herself, she often tattling on herself for something silly she’d done or her latest misstep. She was at her brightest when flanked by sister, Annie, her “partner-in-crime.” She enjoyed raising a glass and giving a good toast, although it was a good bet she’d leave the crowd around her roaring at her misplaced verse.

A diehard Buffalo Bills fan, she survived four Super Bowl losses, but still loved her “hometown” NFL team.

She was married February 24, 1962 at St. Ignatius Church to Gerard “Buz” Connors who died February 7, 1992. She was also preceded in death by a son Kevin (1978); her sister and brother-in-law Ann and Chuck Smith; and three brothers-in-law, James and William Connors and John Conti; her nephew, Trooper Lawrence P. Gleason; and cousins Abbott Gabriel, Tom and Jim Gibbs.

Surviving are her daughters Colleen (Mark) Argentieri and Erin (Steve ) Reed; her sons Dan (Karen) Connors and Tom (Kathy) Connors; her “brothers” James (Linda) Gleason and Larry (Rosemary) Gleason; her nieces Susan (Brian) Butler, Bridget (Steve) Minisce, Kate (Chris) Secondo, Shannon (Jim) Kuhn and Tracy Kneer; her nephews Scott (Laurie) Smith and Tim Gleason; and her godson, Tim Connors. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Eric (Nicolette Tse) Argentieri, Dan (Alyssa) Argentieri, Meaghan, Danika, Lara and Adison Connors, Connor and Callahan Reed, Nick (Rheannon) Coleman, Seanna (Jameson) Gifford and Chris Coleman; her great-grandchildren, Maveric Argentieri, Julia, Shane, Trey and Liam Simpson, Owen and Meah Starner, Raelyn and Ella Gifford and Loralai Coleman; great nieces and nephews Matthew and Luke Smith, Emily, Kayla and Tom Kuhn, Mia Butler, Anna Updyke and Scotty Minisce; her cousins Mary Margaret Doran, Mary Catherine and Kathleen Gibbs; her in-laws Katie, George and Barbara Connors and Joan Conti; many nieces and nephews.

The family of Eileen Connors will receive friends on Friday from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church St., Hornell, NY. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 1:00 PM at St. Ann’s Church with burial in St. Ann’s Cemetery.

Eileen’s family request that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her name be made to the Hornell Alumni Association, PO Box 135, Hornell, NY 14843. Memorial forms will be available at the Dagon Funeral Home.

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