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Elinor J. (Grigereit) Gard
June 25, 1929 ~ October 29, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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Elinor Jean Gard, 94, of South Bend, Indiana, after a long and fruitful life, passed away at 7:25 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, at Healthwin Specialized Care, surrounded by her loving children.
Elinor was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the second of three children, on June 25, 1929, to Seth and Mary (Brown) Grigereit. She was married in Benton Harbor on May 31, 1953, to Raymond Gard; he died on March 3, 1992.
She graduated from Benton Harbor High School, Class of 1946, took a tour across war-ravaged Europe and graduated from Benton Harbor Junior College (now Lake Michigan College) in 1950 where she met Ray. They were married and lived first in LaPorte and then the village of Lydick, where they built a home and a life for themselves and their five children.
Elinor was deeply involved in her community as a member and in leadership at Lydick United Methodist Church, Warren Township Park and the Lydick Lionettes. She was known by many as an aide at Warren Elementary School.
She turned a temporary job in the 1970 decennial census into a full-time career with the U.S. Census Bureau, rising to the position of regional field supervisor and earning a Bronze Medal from the U.S. Department of Commerce for her years of dedication and service.
Elinor fondly recalled her mission trips with the church, including one to Africa in 1999 where she helped care for children whose lives were devastated by the AIDS virus, and in 2005 to Louisiana and Mississippi where she rolled up her sleeves in the recovery of communities destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Elinor parachuted from an airplane on her 90th birthday.
Always eager to help a neighbor, make a friend or right a wrong, Elinor lived a full and courageous life. With her warmth and wisdom, and a delightful sense of humor, Elinor made the world a better place for all those who knew her. She will be dearly missed.
She is survived by her children Melissa (Michael) Gard of South Bend, Cyndi (Blake) Currier of South Bend, Jon (Jaynee) Gard of La Porte, Mary (Paul) Cramer of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Joel Gard of South Bend; and a stepdaughter, Rickey (Stephen) Gard Diamond of Montpelier, Vermont. Also surviving are grandchildren Jason, Austin, Brett and Chloe Currier; Peter (Tamta), Harrison, William (Michal) and Eleanor Cramer; Logan Gard; step grandchildren Lauri (Joseph) Venckus and Teresa Manns; great-grandchildren; a brother, Robert (Carolyn) Grigereit of Traverse City, Michigan; as well as a small circle of dear friends, nieces and nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ray, and her sister, Betty.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 at Kaniewski Funeral Homes, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, and 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 at Lydick United Methodist Church, 26510 Edison Road, South Bend, followed by a funeral at the church at noon.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Elinor’s name to any charity, including some of her favorites: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Africa University, Lydick United Methodist Church, Doctors Without Borders, American Red Cross, and the American Diabetes Association.
To send online condolences, please visit www.kaniewski.com.