Eloise Ricciardelli, née King passed away on Monday, April 1st 2019 at the age of 90. She went peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones.
By all accounts, Eloise lived her life to the fullest. She was born on February 18, 1929 in New Jersey to Christina Pernas and J. C. King. Despite chronic motion sickness, she lived a life on the move, spending her childhood in South America with years in Brazil and Uruguay alongside her older brother, Frank, and younger sister, Margherita. She moved back to the US shortly after WWII and finished up her schooling, attending Stevens College and, from what we know, raising hell.
Not to take the simple road, she moved to New York City and began a career. She had a number of different jobs, including working for Capital Records before eventually starting up at MoMA. She worked through the ranks, from the Film Department to Museum Registrar. Her work took her across the globe, including Russia, Australia, Japan, France and more. As an expert in the field, she continued to work after her retirement in 1991, lending her expertise to the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the Mattapoisett Historical Society.
A modern, independent woman, Eloise was married and divorced a couple of times throughout her life. First to Don Smith, father of Cassandra and Marc, and later to Alex Ricciardelli, father of Matthew. Unfortunately, no man could really keep up with Eloise, so she raised her three children primarily as a single working mother from the 60’s and through the 80’s.
Eloise retired from MoMA and moved to Mattapoisett, MA in the early 90’s. She spent those years volunteering, continuing to travel and teaching her grandchildren how to protest. With family all over, she had opportunities to visit across the US and overseas to Cyprus, Belgium, Hong Kong, Bali, Canada and more after her retirement, in addition to regular visits to New York.
Despite moving to Maine in the later years of her life, she built a vibrant and close community of friends. Her days were filled with exercise classes, spanish table, movies, concerts, operas, lectures and chatting up strangers at Woodman’s. Eloise was an absolute treasure of a human being who touched everyone she met. She was sassy and sophisticated, she knew how to have a good time and not take life too seriously. She faced her life fearlessly and cared little of what others might think. She will be sorely missed.
She is survived by her brother, Frank King; daughter, Cassandra Babbitt; son, Matthew Ricciardelli; five grandchildren, James, Ian, Hilary and Fiona Babbitt and Vincent Smith; and 2 great-grandchildren Eloise and Clementine Cummer-Babbitt.
A celebration for her life is planned at a later date when extended family may join us. In lieu of flowers the family asks for a donation to the Orono Land Trust (PO Box 4, Orono, ME 04473), or a charity of your choice.