Elenore (Ellie) S. Finklestein Freedman, 96, of Manchester, died April 16, 2022 at the Lodge at Riverwoods after a brief period of declining health.
She was born in Brockton, MA on January 15, 1926 to Benjamin and Dora (Markovitz) Finklestein. She earned a bachelor's degree from Radcliffe College in Cambridge in 1947 and lived in Bedford for most of her life.
Called the "dean" of educational reform and advocacy in New Hampshire, Elenore was Executive Director of the New Hampshire Council for Better Schools; program coordinator for the Center for Educational Field Services; Executive Director of the NH Association of School Principals; and Director of the NH Alliance for Effective Schools' School Improvement Program (SIP). The SIP program won national recognition in November, 1989 as one of four educational programs exemplifying public-private partnerships.
Along with her husband Peter, Elenore was a founder of the Derryfield school in Manchester, NH, a private, independent, college preparatory day school, serving families in southern New Hampshire. Elenore had known R. Philip Hugny from the New Hampshire Council for Better Schools, and recruited him as the first headmaster of Derryfield. The school opened in September of 1965 with 108 students and 11 faculty members, and is now considered to be one of the top private secondary schools in New Hampshire. At the 50th anniversary of the school, Elenore wrote that the school had become a joyful place of excellence beyond the dreams of the Founders.
Elenore was a longtime Trustee of the Currier Museum of Art, and on the boards of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and New Hampshire Public Television.
Elenore was included in "Notables in New Hampshire", a book published by the NH Historical Society, as one of 422 people who "helped shape the character of the state." In 1990, she was awarded the Granite State Award for Outstanding Public Service from the University of New Hampshire, in recognition of her substantial contributions to the quality of education in New Hampshire during the last 40 years.
After retirement in 1991, she both took and led courses in the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement, chosen as a "Distinguished Member" in 2010. She mentored young professional women in NH and provided editorial feedback to constitutional scholar/author Geoffrey Stone.
A strong alto, she sang with the Manchester Choral Society (including their 1994 impromptu drive-by singing in three old European cathedrals, including Sainte-Chapelle in Paris).
She had an avid interest in politics, supporting Democratic candidates and liberal causes for decades. She also enjoyed birding, singing, sailing, reading and she was a die-hard Red Sox fan.
Elenore was pre-deceased by her husband Peter in 1986 and by her brother Arnold Stein and her sister Muriel Barzelay. A loving and devoted mother and grandmother, she is survived by her daughter Dorrie Freedman of Melrose, MA, son Hal and his wife Margaret Popper of New York, NY, granddaughters Cecily (Zelie) van Buren-Freedman and Petra Popper-Freedman, both of New York, NY, by her brother Robert Stein and his wife Cecilia, of Atlanta, GA, and by her sister-in-law, Joyce Klane-Kolovson, of Newton, MA. She also leaves nephews and nieces Douglas Barzelay, Diane and David Freedman, Nydia Stein Patrick and her husband Tom Patrick, Linda Klane Stern and her husband Fred Stern, Harry Klane, Deborah Jiang Stein and Jonathan Stein.
SERVICES: Services are private. Private burial will be at Bedford Center Cemetery in Bedford.
Please omit flowers. Memorial donations may be made to the Peter and Elenore Freedman Fund at The Derryfield School, 2108 River Rd, Manchester, NH 03104.