On January 27, 2020, ELEANOR J. RICKERT (nee Little), beloved wife of the late Willis H. Rickert, Jr., devoted mother of Craig A. Rickert (Frances). Loving grandmother of Lynn and Chloe Rickert. Also survived by dear friends and an extended family that she loved so much. Family will receive friends on Saturday, February 1 at Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, 6410 Amherst Avenue, Columbia MD. Viewing will from 10 to 11:30 AM, immediately followed by a service.
Eleanor was born at the house on her family’s farm in Smallwood MD, just south of Westminster, on October 25, 1922. Her parents were Henry S. Little and Annie L. (Hoffman) Little. She was the youngest of five children; her oldest sister Edith Wuest was almost 20 years older than Eleanor. Her other sisters were Evelyn Brown, Frances Jordan, and her brother was George Ivan Little. Another brother, Clyde, died in infancy. She grew up in that farming community and was a member of Deer Park United Methodist Church. The original building still stands in Smallwood, now used as a gift shop while the current sanctuary is across the street. Many members of her family to include her parents are buried at the church’s cemetery.
She started school in a one room schoolhouse, and in 1939 she graduated from Westminster High School. After school she earned a cosmetology certification and around that time moved into her sister Evelyn’s home in the Pimlico section of Baltimore City. She volunteered for the USO and at a related function just after the war met the love of her life, Willis (Bill) Rickert who had been convalescing at his mother’s house in the city. They were married on October 23, 1948 and always claimed that the date was a coincidence: Bill’s birthday was October 21 and Eleanor’s was October 25! They initially rented an upstairs apartment in Randallstown but later bought a house on Milford Mill Road near the intersection with Liberty Road. Eleanor worked in downtown Baltimore at the American National Savings and Loan.
In July 1954 they had a son Craig, who was their only child and the only grandchild in the Little family. That didn’t matter to Eleanor, as she loved the family she gained when she married Bill. While enjoying happy years on Milford Mill road, with neighbors who became lifelong friends, Eleanor, Bill and Craig moved to Howard County in 1959 to help shorten Bill’s commute to work in downtown DC. This was still the pre-Columbian era in Howard County with mostly farmland and a few housing communities along a two lane road, US 29. Allview Estates quickly became the center of their lives, meeting other young parents, joining the swim club, and especially Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church where Eleanor and Bill were charter members. Eleanor volunteered at the Christian Women’s Thriftshop, originally located in the old Sam’s General Store building just south of the church, joined a bowling league at the brand new Normandy Lanes, volunteered as a “home mother” at Craig’s elementary school, and many other activities --- to include shopping trips with friends. Eleanor, Bill and Craig usually spent Friday nights at Henry Little’s farmhouse up until his passing in 1968. They loved being with family, both the Little family and the all of the Rickert family.
Once Craig was in high school Eleanor returned to work at Republic Insurance Company in Columbia, and enjoyed interaction with all her coworkers and her boss, also a member of CMPC. Eleanor and Bill did some traveling, in the continental US as well as Hawaii, Bermuda and eastern Canada. They annually visited family and friends in Florida for many years and often attended NASA launches at Cape Canaveral and Oriole spring training games in Fort Lauderdale. Both were longtime Oriole fans and Eleanor probably recognized more of the players than Bill. Craig married Fran McQuade in 1986 and that introduced Eleanor and Bill to more family that they loved dearly. The most joyous additions arrived soon after: granddaughter Lynn was born in 1989, and granddaughter Chloe in 1992. Eleanor lived long enough to see both graduate college and become adults. They both brought her so much happiness.
The friends made in Allview were cherished by Eleanor and Bill, and remembered for so many kindnesses to include caring for them after the 1972 flood, and even seemingly small gestures such as a neighbor stringing lights on a little tree in the yard while Bill was in hospice care at Christmastime in 2003. After 55 happy years together Bill passed away on February 10, 2004. With the support of wonderful friends and family Eleanor continued to live in Allview until November 2015. At that time she moved to the Charlestown Community in Catonsville where she resided until her passing. While it was increasingly difficult for her to remember names she continued to recognize people and loved dinners with new friends at the Fireside restaurant in Charlestown. The staff at Charlestown was very supportive and loving, a perfect place to live out her final years. Among the pets she had through the years, most special among them were the family dog Trixie who patrolled the carport at the Allview house for 17 years, and two cats in her later years, Sunshine and Winston. Winston moved to Charlestown with Eleanor and especially enjoyed all the windows when they relocated to a corner room in 2018.
Thank you to all of the wonderful friends and family who have shared with us their memories and condolences. Eleanor was truly blessed to have a long, relatively healthy life and to have so many who cared about her and loved her.