Eleanor Rae Zirkle, age 82, passed away at her home in Winchester on Friday, October 20, 2023 after a prolonged battle with cancer.
Born Eleanor Rae Crites on June 11, 1941 in French Creek, WV, she was the daughter of Gerald Creed and Martha Virginia (Lemons) Crites, who preceded her in death. After graduating from Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Eleanor married her high school sweetheart Thomas Zirkle with whom she shared 64 happy years of marriage before he passed away earlier this year. She was the proud mother of two sons, Loren Zirkle of Pennsylvania Furnace, PA, and Braniff Zirkle of Winchester, VA.
Eleanor’s late teens and early 20s were spent as a Navy wife with postings taking her from Illinois to Virginia. She made a forty-year career in human resources that saw her work at Sears, FEMA, Family Dollar, and most recently at Southeastern Container. Outside of work, Eleanor took great pleasure in adventure and in trying new things. Together with her husband Tom, she traveled the United States extensively, hiking the Grand Canyon twice, the Grand Tetons once, and spending time in 34 US states. She felt an affinity for visiting the shore, particularly the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where she spent many weeks camping. At age 62, Eleanor pursued her pilot’s license, and she enjoyed flying in a Cessna 152 aircraft for ten years before she hung up her flight goggles. She was a member of the Experimental Airplane Association, including Shenandoah Chapter 1031 in Winchester and Chapter 1071 in Martinsburg.
In addition to her sons, Eleanor is survived by her sister Carolyn Roby; daughter-in-law Donna Zirkle; grandson Casey Love and his wife Rebekah Love; granddaughter Robbin Zirkle Degeratu and her husband Liviu Degeratu; and grandson Kevin Love and his wife Bia Love. Eleanor made friends everywhere that she went, and she will be remembered fondly by her loved ones for bringing more joy and laughter into the world.
Visitation for Eleanor will be held at Omps Funeral Home, Amherst Chapel, on Tuesday, October 31,2023 from 5 pm to 7 pm with a service the following day Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 1 pm followed by a procession to Mount Hebron Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Blue Ridge Hospice at https://brhospice.org/.