Eileen R. (Mc Partlin) Essay died January 3 at Southampton Hospital, with her family by her side. She was 71.
Ms. Essay was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on August 16, 1942, to Frank and Madeline Mc Partlin. Her family moved from Connecticut to Sag Harbor when she was 6 years old. She attended St. Andrew’s parochial school through eighth grade and then Pierson High School, graduating in 1960. She attended Good Counsel College (now known as Pace University), graduating in 1964 with a degree in English. Shortly after graduating from college, Ms. Essay was hired by the Sachem School District, where she taught second and third grade at both the Cayuga and Gatelot elementary schools.
She met her future husband, Robert Essay, at the Hansom House in Southampton in the late fall of 1968. She accepted her first date going to the annual Southampton Fire Department banquet in January 1969. They married on April 3, 1971, and settled in Southampton. Their son, Robert Jr., was born in 1973, followed by a daughter, Kathleen, three years later. After the birth of her son, Ms. Essay devoted her time to raising her children.
In 1981 she and her husband purchased land in Fort Pierce, Florida, and they built a family home complete with a guest house in 1986. Since then they enjoyed spending part of the winter at their second home entertaining friends and family.
Ms. Essay was active in church activities at the Basilica Parish of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, including being a member of the Altar Rosary, prayer groups and senior citizen luncheons sponsored by the church. She was also involved in Meals on Wheels. Ms. Essay was an avid reader, and in her later years turned to books on tape.
She was diagnosed with a rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 16. Despite the disability, she would never complain, survivors said, adding that she showed them how to live with challenges by radiating an upbeat, positive spirit infectious to everyone she met. They said she was a fighter to the end, carrying a zest for life each and every day, and that when facing a difficulty, no matter big or small, she would simply adapt and overcome. She also was generous with her love, kindness, empathy and time, and made friends wherever she went, survivors said.
Ms. Essay was predeceased by her parents. She is survived by her husband, Robert Essay Sr.; her children, Robert Essay Jr. of Southampton, and Kathleen Essay and husband Francisco Romero Baez of Queens; two grandchildren, Alex and Isabel Romero Essay; and a brother, F. Joseph Mc Partlin, and sister, Marie T. Brenner, both of Sag Harbor.
Visitation was at the O’Connell Funeral Home in Southampton. A funeral Mass was said on January 8 at the Basilica Parish at Sacred Hearts Roman Catholic Church in Southampton, followed by interment in the church cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the Dominican Sisters Family Health Services, 103-6 Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays, NY 11946, or Human Resources of the Hamptons, www.hrhamptons.org.