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Obituary for Eleanor A. Colombara
Eleanor A. Colombara, age 85, of Collinsville, IL, passed away Friday, January 15, 2016 at Anderson Hospital in Maryville, IL surrounded by family.�� Mrs. Colombara was born Feb. 27, 1930, and lived all her life in Collinsville where she touched thousands of lives as a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and teacher.�� The end of this obituary will list three children, but in Eleanor's mind, there were surely more. As a full-time teacher at SS Peter and Paul Catholic School for 48 years and a substitute for several more, she touched the lives of thousands of students and their families. She counted them all as her kids. Members of Eleanor's immediate family were often amazed that she could remember the names of students she taught decades ago. She would bump into someone at Schnucks who she had taught and recall not only their name, but the names of brothers, sisters, parents, children or grandchildren. There was a good chance that she taught some of them as well. Later, she might say that someone she taught was "a challenge," but she said she never had a bad kid. Mrs. Colombara, known to many of her students and fellow teachers as Cookie Monster, was famous for the bag of Jolly Rancher candy she kept in her desk drawer, and she never turned away a student who asked for one politely. In 2014, S.S. Peter and Paul named her old classroom, room 2B, after her. Following a Saturday evening Mass, she sat at the head of that classroom one last time and welcomed a steady stream of hundreds of visitors. She was humbled and talked for weeks about how she couldn't believe that so many people would have remembered her. ��In 1966, Eleanor married the love of her life, Joe Colombara. Joe, a widower, had three children, and Eleanor raised them as her own. She took on the role of caretaker as she would so many times in her life. Eleanor was always at Joe's side. They traveled the country attending Joe's Navy ship reunions, and she maintained to the end that they never had a fight -- just discussions.�� Eleanor never rested. In addition to teaching, she worked weekends at Home Furniture for more than 45 years and kept the books at church.�� She took pride in caring for her family. When she was a teen, her father, Peter, died, and Eleanor cared for her mother for the rest of her life, visiting daily at her apartment and later at a nursing home. For many years, Eleanor cared for her mother in her own home.�� ��If you stopped by the house, you were sure to get a few slices of her roast beef, a bowl of vegetable soup, homemade chicken and polenta or whatever she happened to be cooking. If she wasn't cooking that night, there was always something that could be warmed up. You never left her house hungry. She was a charter member of the Legion of Mary; Eucharistic minister at church and to the homebound. She is preceded in death by her father, Peter Mikalauski; and mother, Petronella Mikalauski (nee: Buitkus). She is survived by her husband, Joe Colombara of Collinsville; three children, Gary (Mary) Colombara), Tom (Cynthia) Colombara and Linda (Robert) Colombara-Buffo, ��all of Troy, IL; five grandchildren, Nicole (Grant) Kwon, Adrienne, Alexandra and Tyler Colombara, and Brian (Dorothy) Wallheimer); and three great-grandchildren, Eleanor, Katherine and Charles Wallheimer. �� Memorials are requested in the form of masses to S. S. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Collinsville. Visitation: ��Monday, January 18, 2016 from 3:00 until 7:00 p. m. at S. S. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 207 Vandalia, Collinsville, IL and on Tuesday, January 19 from 9:30 a. m. until 10:15 a.m. ��Funeral Mass: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 10:30 a. m. at S. S. Peter & Paul Catholic Church with Father John Beveridge officiating. ��Burial: ��S. S. Peter & Paul Catholic Cemetery, Collinsville, IL ����