Obituary of Katherine Elaine O'Neill
Katherine Elaine Taylor O’Neill, known as Elaine, passed away in her home at age 105 on April 16, 2022, after a life rich with love, self-fulfillment, and service to family, friends, the Church of the Resurrection, and the Rye community. Born in Port Chester, NY, she was a resident of Rye, NY, for most of her life.
Elaine was the daughter of Katherine T. Kirby Taylor (d. 1978) and Edward F. Taylor (d.1918). She was predeceased by her beloved brother James (Buster) Kirby Taylor (d. 1943) and her loving husband William (Bill) Edward O’Neill (d. 1987). Elaine and Bill were the proud parents of Katherine Elaine O’Neill Elgert, husband Thomas McLean Elgert (Goshen, NY); Anne Marie O’Neill Kelly-Edmunds, husband Leland Edmunds (Mt. Sinai, NY); and Margie O’Neill, husband Ron Kensy (Danbury, CT).
She was the devoted grandmother of William John Kelly (d. 2020) and Kathryn, husband Leon, great-grandchildren Alexandra and Brian; and Christopher Thomas Elgert (d. 1992) and Annemarie Julia Elgert Fosstveit, husband John Eric Fosstveit (St. Charles, MO); great-grandmother of Andrew Thomas Elgert and Brianna Dale Fosstveit; great-great grandmother of Jordan Andrew Kral-Elgert and Daisy Grace Elgert.
As a child and teen, Elaine was an athlete, earning her nickname of “Tomboy Taylor”. She was an accomplished Girl Scout and earned the Golden Eaglet Award, now called the Gold Award, the highest rank of Girl Scouts, USA. She taught Red Cross swimming and swam into her 80s.
Elaine graduated from the College of Mt. Saint Vincent, Riverdale, NY, with a BA and later earned her MA from Manhattan College, Bronx, NY. During her retirement, she took courses in film studies at Purchase College, Harrison, NY.
She was a dedicated schoolteacher, last teaching at the Academy of the Resurrection in Rye for 24 years. Elaine also was the coach of winning basketball and swim teams at the Academy. After she retired, she became a freelance writer, published in a variety of magazines.
Her extensive volunteer work included 30 years of service with the Girl Scouts of America. She served the Church of the Resurrection in several capacities, including being its historian and archivist. She also was a member of and researcher for the Rye Historical Society.
In recognition of Elaine’s accomplishments and contributions to the community, she was awarded the 1995 Americanism Award by the Rye American Legion Post 128. The Westchester County Board of Legislators joined in honoring her by declaring Monday, May 29, 1995 as “Elaine Taylor O’Neill Day” in Westchester County.
Her passions included cooking, reading, sewing, the theater, her rose gardens and genealogy, researching her ancestors, the Kirby/Taylor families.
Donations in memory of Elaine can be made to Doctors Without Borders, Catholic Relief Services or Maryknoll Missionaries.
The family of Elaine O’Neill wishes you peace. May there be peace in your heart, peace in your life, and peace in the world. Amen.
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