Therese Driscoll Elliott, 91, passed away peacefully Saturday, April 22, at her home in Interlaken, with her family at her side.
Therese was born in Ithaca on October 23, 1925, a daughter of the late William M. and Gertrude (King) Driscoll. She attended Ithaca High School, graduating in 1943, and enrolled in Cornell University that fall.
Therese was a classically trained soprano, and she frequently performed as a soloist and ensemble member, in addition to her studies during those years.
She received her B.A. from Cornell in 1946. In the spring of 1944, she met Robert Elliott, a Marine attending Cornell under the government’s wartime College Training Program.
Therese married Bob in 1946 and moved from Ithaca to Interlaken in 1948, where they made their home on Prospect Street. In that house they lived together until Bob’s death last year and in that house Therese died on Saturday, in peace and with her family.
Therese’s passions were her family and her career as teacher, and mentor, to many years of elementary school students and their families at Interlaken Central School and then South Seneca.
She was a key member of the faculty, teaching third grade classes and becoming well known for developing her students’ curiosity and wonder in the mysteries of learning and the bigger world in which they lived.
She shared her love of the written and spoken word with generations of children. She took special delight in reading aloud from her favorite works by Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, E.B. White and others.
In later years she learned this delight was reciprocal, as former students would recall “Mrs. Elliott reading aloud,” and express heartfelt thanks for the magic of that experience. She cared deeply about her students.
The rigor of her academic expectations was always accompanied by a profoundly sympathetic appreciation for the physical and emotional health of her students.
She retired in 1982, and remained in contact and maintained friendships with many of her, and her husband’s, students throughout her lifetime.
Therese’s first loves and priorities were her husband and her family. She was never happier than when with them and with her many friends, both at the family’s “uptown house” on Prospect Street and the “lake house” at Bainbridge Beach on Cayuga Lake.
She and Bob delighted in traveling both in the U.S. and abroad, often with family, often with friends, but always together. She and Bob developed deep and lasting friendships at every stage of their lives, beginning with her friends from Ithaca High School, through the days at Cornell and Bob’s career with the Marine Corps, their teaching days in Interlaken, their neighbors in Interlaken and at Bainbridge Beach, and their travels throughout the world.
Therese was effortlessly generous and compassionate, not only with her family and closest friends but with virtually everyone she met. Her loving demeanor was often punctuated by a fierce Irish wit, including both her steely candor and her mischievous sense of humor.
Those who knew her admired and loved these many elements of her presence and her spirit.
Therese is survived by four children Robert R. (Jean) Elliott, III, Ann D. (Steve Greenstein) Elliott, Therese E. (Jean-Claude Geeraert, deceased) Elliott, and Richard “Gig” (Christine) Elliott, and is pre-deceased by her husband, Bob, and their daughter, Mary Kathryn Elliott. She is also survived by her adored grandchildren, “the girls”, Anne, Stacey, Candice, Emma, Michaela and Katie.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by two brothers, George and James Driscoll; her sister, Genevieve Bossack; and her sister in law, Angela Driscoll.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30am on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at St. Francis Solanus Catholic Church, 3600 Orchard Street, Interlaken by Father Bernard Maloney. Prayers of committal will follow in Lake View Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in Therese’s memory be made to the Parish of Mary Mother of Mercy, St. Francis Solanus Catholic Church, PO Box 403, Interlaken, NY 14847 or the Interlaken Public Library, PO Box 317, Interlaken, NY 14847, or Interlaken Fire Department, PO Box 274, Interlaken, NY 14847.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South Street, Trumansburg, ness-sibley.com 1-866-534-5446.