Eileen Sheldon passed away peacefully at her home in Sarasota, Fla., on July 17, 2021, with her family by her side. She was 97.
Born in Manhattan on May 24,1924, to John and Catherine Beebe, Eileen grew up in St. Albans, Queens, and moved to Wildwood Lake, Northampton, on Eastern Long Island. With her husband, Leonard Sheldon, a noted architect, they raised six children in the country, where they became active members in their community.
Eileen led an exciting life, including becoming an airline hostess for Trans World Airlines and being crowned Miss TWA 1948. She was an active member of the Long Island Early Fliers Club. Eileen had a lifelong love of the theater beginning in High School and later in summer stock in Gloucester, Mass., and Ogunquit, Maine. She starred in over two dozen musicals with the North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck, Long Island and throughout the East End.
She was an avid golfer, once scoring a hole-in-one at Misty Creek Country Club in Sarasota, Fla., where she retired to 20 years ago. Eileen felt a special connection to Sarasota through the memorial statue of the sailor and the nurse that is on display at the Sarasota harborfront. Eileen was in Times Square the day World War II ended. She can be seen over the right shoulder of the sailor in the iconic Eisenstaedt photo that captured “the kiss” and the celebration in Times Square.
After 31 years working as the executive assistant to the manager of Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, Long Island, she was recognized for her decades of service when Suffolk County dedicated a road at the airport in her name: Sheldon Way. At the unveiling, Eileen exclaimed “Oh great! You’re also honoring my husband, Leonard. He helped save this airport when it was threatened” (with being sold in the mid-1970s).
She is predeceased by her husband, Leonard Sheldon; her brother, John Beebe; sister, Eleanor O’Brien; and son-in-law Dan Conway. She is survived by her six children, Robert, of Sarasota; Gregory, and daughter-in-law Leslie of Groton, Mass.; Kathleen Stallmer and son-in-law Dan of Albany, N.Y.; Christopher, of Northampton, N.Y.; Constance Conway of Northampton; and Gary, of Westhampton, N.Y. In addition, she is survived by her five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Eileen will be celebrated at a Mass of Christian Burial to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 31, at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church in Riverhead, N.Y. Eileen will be laid to rest at Calverton National Cemetery with her World War II veteran husband.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Eileen’s name to Visiting Angels (visitingangels.com/sarasota) or the Tidewell Hospice Foundation (tidewell.org).
This is a paid notice.