Mary Eleanor Stier
Mary Eleanor Prebis was raised in the Westside of Buffalo, and left school in her sophomore year in high school. She went to work at Your Host as a waitress. This began her long life as a working woman. At 23 her wedding plans fell apart when the man she chose decided to become a priest. Then she worked at Trico, until she met Steve Stier, the man she married. He was a steel worker and a reliable husband and father. She was a wife and homemaker for a number of years. In her mid-thirties, she decided to go back to work for her own spending money. She worked a physically hard job in a laundry, until she retired at 62 and drew her own social security, of which she was very proud. Once she started bringing in her own money, every single Saturday, no matter what, she had her hair done.
She bore and raised five children, three sons, David, Andrew, and Peter, and two daughters, Laura and Camille. She was a devoted mother and remained close to her children, doing joint projects and sharing holidays, even after they had grown up. Her first daughter Laura, has three daughters, Charlene, Carina, and Courtne. Mary Eleanor was a devoted Catholic. When she was young she was in CYO, the Catholic Youth Organization. Later in life she and Steve worked in the soup kitchen of their church in Niagara Falls, and she became a deacon, which means she was able to assist the priest with holy communion; that meant a great deal to her.
Mary Eleanor was my sister. We were five girls and five boys. She was special in that she was the next youngest to me. If I hadn't come along, seven years later, she would have been spoiled like I was. I remember so many good times with Mary Eleanor. When we were kids, Margaret, our second oldest sister, Mary Eleanor and I all shared a bedroom. I had a cot, Mary Eleanor and Margaret were in the bed together. We lived in a basement apartment, and when it rained we had to close the window in the kitchen because the rain would come in and splash on the washer and dryer. During one big lightening and thunderstorm, Margaret asked each of us to go and close the window but we both pretended to be asleep. So she got up to do it. She had closed the window and was just locking it, when Mary Eleanor got up and turned the kitchen light on. Margaret jumped backwards five feet and said to Mary Eleanor, 'Don't you ever do that to me again.' Mary Eleanor said, 'What's the matter? What did I do?' Margaret replied, 'You turned on the light and I thought I got hit by lightening.' When we all got back into bed. Mary Eleanor and I couldn't stop giggling. Margaret told us, 'Go to sleep, you think you are so smart.'
I always pulled dirty tricks on Mary Eleanor. Like I used to stand behind the entry door with a broom and when she would close it I would drop the broom in back of her and she would be startled. She always fell for it. Then I would run out the door. She inevitably caught me; she was on the track team and very fast. She let me know that she had won, but she never hurt me. Throughout her life, I appreciated that Mary Eleanor was even tempered and very forgiving; she never held a grudge.
Written by Bobbi Prebis with Liz Kennedy