Date of Birth November 20, 1920
Date Deceased August 6, 2022
Hometown Dansville/Conesus
Home State NY


1920 – 2022


Eleanor Elizabeth Gerber, nee Knapp, 101 years, passed away Saturday evening, 6 August 2022 at St. James Hospital in Hornell, New York (Seneca Road facility).

Eleanor was born on 20 November 1920 in Dansville, Livingston, New York to parents Elizabeth (Bess) Cline Knapp (nee Ingalls) and Carlos Everest Knapp.  She spent her childhood years growing up in Dansville at the family home at 21 Pine Street.

Following her graduation from Dansville Central Schools in June, 1938, Eleanor continued her education at the high school for two additional years in what was then referred to as post-graduate studies.  She enjoyed music and excelled at playing violin, piano and cello; cello being her favorite instrument.  She sang alto in chorus and for many years before and after high school performed with her mother and family friend Marian Dolan at countless gatherings:  Lincoln Day dinners at the Presbyterian Church, weddings, funerals, family reunions and many other occasions.  She was also a member of the church’s bell ringing choir.  During her childhood, her mother Bess performed at the Star Theatre in Dansville, providing sound for the early silent movies.  Eleanor carried the sheet music as a means of getting into the theater for free to watch the films.  As a teenager she also worked at the PC Hotel, known in earlier days as Our Home on the Hillside.

On 30 December 1943 Eleanor married Vincent Joseph Gerber in a ceremony at St. Mary’s Church in Dansville.  At the time, Vin was home in Dansville for a brief leave from his training in Camp Perry, Virginia, while serving with the United States Navy Seabees in World War Two.  Vin would later go on to train in Davisville, Rhode Island before sailing to the Mediterranean Sea to serve with the Seabees during the D-Day invasion in June, 1944, and then later in Okinawa, Japan during the final months of the War.

Eleanor and Vin raised two children, Lois and David, while living at their residence at 17 Cottage Street in Dansville, but in 1949 they constructed a cottage on Conesus Lake.  It was there that the family spent their summers.  Eleanor called the cottage her home for all of her retirement years, when not wintering in Ft. Myers, Florida where she and Vin purchased a home in 1979.  Vin, who was born in Dansville on 18 January 1921, passed away at the Livingston County nursing facility in Mt. Morris on 4 September 2004.

Eleanor was passionate about sports; all sports.  Her father Carlos Knapp’s family owned and published the Dansville Breeze newspaper for many years, and he went to great lengths to publish hundreds of his daughter’s sporting achievements.  As a member of the high school track team and bowling team she won numerous trophies.  Following high school she joined the town bowling team, the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, the Altru Circle, often known as the Tri C Club, the local bridge club, and served as a Welcome Wagon Lady.  In later years she became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

During her 43 years in Ft. Myers as a winter resident, she was a member of Poinsettia Park’s Shuffle Board team and bowling team.  She was a devoted Buffalo Bills fan, but would often video tape their games – admitting that she could only watch them once she knew whether they had won their latest game.  Her baseball loyalties wavered between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Another passion in her younger days was hunting.  On a Sunday evening preceding the delivery of her daughter Lois, Eleanor was out hunting woodchucks with her brother Ken Knapp.  Once home a few days later a co-worker of Vin’s at Foster Wheeler, Red Freeman, saw her out mowing the lawn and took time out from his errands to finish the job.

Eleanor is survived by her two children, Lois Ellen Bulger and Scot Marechaux and David Carl Gerber, a nephew Richard Knapp, former son-in-law Robert F. Bulger, former daughter-in-law Mary Honan Gerber, her four grandchildren Scott Bulger, Julie Bulger, Beth Gerber and Benjamin Gerber, six great-grandchildren, and her many friends both in the Dansville/Conesus area and at Poinsettia Park in Ft. Myers, Florida.

There are no calling hours.  A memorial service will be arranged at a later time.

The Bishop-Johnson & DeSanto Funeral Home, 285 Main St., Hornell is honored to assist Eleanor’s family with the arrangements.

Online condolences or remembrances of Eleanor are welcome in the comment section below or on the Facebook page of Bishop-Johnson & DeSanto Funeral Home.



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9 Responses

  1. Miss Ellie, I was so lucky to know you and share time with you. You were truly a gem, bringing knowledge, laughter, memories, great stories and good times to any time I was lucky enough to be in your company. RIP my sweet friend. My condolences to Dave, Loie and grandchildren, and to everyone who knew her, as we all feel a loss at her passing. Love ya, see you in the afterlife!!

  2. A fabulous lady _ a fabulous friend for over twenty years. She will be remembered by all who knew and loved her as Miss Ellie of Poinsettia Park.

  3. Miss Ellie, you were an inspiration to many. I am the blessed one to have known you! Your attitude and desire to be with people was the greatest. I loved to watch you kick up your heels! You will surely be missed in Fort Myers!

  4. Ellie will be greatly missed but her warmth, kindness, and gentle spirit will be remembered for ever. Ellie was truly a special lady and will remain in all of our hearts with loving memories. Our deepest sympathy to Ellie’s family, love, Mark and Cassie

  5. My dear Ellie, What can I say. I love you with all my heart. From the moment I met you in Poinsettia Park at Marge Gaynor’s. You were so special to me. We did a lot of dancing, and just so you know we have changed happy hour to “Ellie Hour”. R.I.P. my dear friend. I will miss you forever. See you in the next life. 💖💖

  6. I am posting this perfect capture of Ellie from Beth Gerber Judd’s Facebook post.
    Ellie lives on in the hearts of those she met…. Love You Mom , Scot

    At 9:28p on Saturday the 6th of August the Gerber Family Matriarch left the building.
    She was known to us as Grandma Elly, Gram and Grammy. She was 101 years old!
    She was quite literally the life of every party she attended. To say she was a Legend, A Warrior, an Exception is not saying enough. Gram loved all of us Grandkids. Watching us grow and raise our own families brought her beams of pride and joy. Little Henry loved to state the fact that Grammy was the oldest person in our family. That she was but also one of the youngest at heart. Just 5 years ago she sat cross-legged in a kid size chair in Ben’s living room letting the little ones crawl all over her. She would still even just a few years back be on the floor playing with the kids griping about how old people just need to learn the right way to turn and bend to get themselves off the floor.
    She never stopped moving. She still had her daily highball (s) and her cigarettes. Living off baked potatoes, sour cream, instant coffee, mayo and reeses peanut butter cups got her the award for having the highest cholesterol her doctor had ever seen…..of the good kind.
    Even as she lost her vision she was still known to get up on the ladder, bake a German chocolate cake, whip up a batch of deviled eggs and of course….sharply critique you as you poured her drink. There was a right way and a wrong way to the ratio of Canadian Club and Coke.
    When I was younger I was always so jealous of how she would dote on Ben. He was her sun, her moon, her stars. And he remained that for her 💙 I always wanted her to love me that much. Well the other night she explained it….at some point during her transition she was able to share with me that she had always loved me but during those rebellious teenage days of mine she didn’t understand me. I was simply too much. My drama and intensity threw her off. As I grew older and became an intellectual she could relate with me and enjoy the side of me she didn’t understand back then. ❤💫❤ I get it. I so get it, Gram.
    There was a period of time when we had nightly phone calls. Then came work and kids and that faded. We’d always pick up where we left off though.
    It really has been such a gift to love her. She had the most marvelous personality. You couldn’t help but to be thrilled at life in her presence. Over the years I watched her age but boy was it in slow motion. Gosh I’m grateful for that. To be losing my last grandparent in mid life….wow.
    I love that Henry and Vincent are old enough to have lasting memories of her.
    I love that at 91 she was center stage at our wedding swing dancing to ACDC 🤣 If you were there you remember. And she loved to take center stage. Hell, she earned it.
    I love that at 90 she was the last one at the bonfire, legit wearing a crown, a pink sweater and polyester pants.
    I love that she gave the best hugs and would eagerly await all the answers to the questions she had for you.
    I love that it took her over an hour to eat a salad. Heck, it took her an hour to eat a baked potato. She had her priorities straight.
    I love that she shared with me her tendency for panic attacks. That a woman born in 1920 had any awareness at all about mental health.
    I love that she would close her eyes and sway while smiling so gently when a song she loved came on. Ave Maria was one of her favorites.
    I love that when I stayed with her in Florida one year, as an adult….and when packing fell over my suitcase tearing the bottom of my foot open on the clip of the suitcase she told me to pour some rum on it and get a bandaid 🤣🤣🤣🤣 I looked at her and said, “With all due respect you’re blind and I think I need stitches!” “Nonsense!” she said. I ultimately convinced her I needed to hit up the local 7 eleven for gauze and neosporin. Then of course when I did see the doctor a couple of days later he agreed…stitches 🤣
    God, that woman. I have 44 glorious years of gratitude to give her.
    The comfort of this big loss comes in knowing she’s right here always. She was there the other night to help the 16 year old part of me wrestle with some memories and she was there last night when the Andrea Botchelli version of Ave Maria brought the boys into slumber. I have a feeling her spirit is strong and I look forward to our continued conversations.
    If you can, throw on some ACDC, or some classical…pour a highball and raise a glass. Grandma Elly….you did it. You kicked life right in the ace. You showed us how it gets done. You dear Gram, are a Rockstar.

    1. What a lovely tribute to “Cousin Eleanor”. Laughing and crying at the same time. You captured everything about her perfectly.

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