April 10, 1935 – Sept. 30, 2019
Eleanor B. Modica, of West Seneca, a U.S. Postal Service administrator and former president of the postal workers credit union, died Sept. 30 in GreenFields Continuing Care Community, Lancaster, after a brief illness. She was 84.
Born Eleanor Ruth Buccella in Buffalo, she was the youngest of nine children.
She contracted polio when she was 3 and was hospitalized for a year.
“She remembered being in a pool every day to exercise her legs,” said Mary Ann Galluccio, her niece and one of her caregivers in recent years. “She believed that was the reason that she loved the water and was a good swimmer.”
She went on to attend St. John the Evangelist School and was a 1953 graduate of Mount Mercy Academy. Before she was married to David R. Modica, in 1958, she was a mortgage clerk at Buffalo Savings Bank and an operator for New York Telephone Co.
She started her career at the post office – where two of her brothers worked – in 1963. Known to all as Ellie, she was a distribution clerk, sorting mail, then was a window clerk at the Kensington Branch, where she became the branch manager.
In the late 1970s, she went into human resources, first as a personnel clerk and assistant, then as supervisor of injury and compensation, safety manager, senior training and development specialist and manager of personnel services.
She prepared for various positions with training in Philadelphia and Potomac, Md.
She was manager of employment and development when she retired, in 1994.
Mrs. Modica was named to the board of directors of the Buffalo Postal Community Federal Credit Union, now Empire One Federal Credit Union, in 1972, and served as the board’s secretary, treasurer and president. She retired as board president in 2016.
She and her husband traveled extensively, taking cruises in the Caribbean and maintaining a timeshare residence in Cancun. They attended the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, in 2000.
On their many visits to Italy, they had an audience with Pope John Paul II and found relatives in her grandfather’s hometown, San Fele.
Her final trip was to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
A resident of West Seneca for about 40 years, she was active in Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, where she was a member of the Ladies Sodality and volunteered in the food booth and as a ticket seller at the annual church carnival.
She sang with the choir at Queen of Heaven Church and previously sang in choirs at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Hamburg and at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora.
A member of the Mercy Knitters, she made many prayer shawls for the sick.
Devoted to her family, she hosted Thursday pasta nights and organized holiday meals and picnics.
After one of her sisters, Madelyn Godios, died in 1986, “she was like a mother to us,” her niece said.
Her husband, a men’s clothing salesman in the Robert Hall store at Main Street and Kensington Avenue and later manager of the postal credit union, died in 2009.
The board room in Empire One’s new headquarters in West Seneca has been named the David and Eleanor Modica Room in honor of their service.
Survivors include a son, David R. Jr.; two brothers, Eugene Buccella and Louis Buccella; a sister, Jeanette Licata; and a grandson.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in Queen of Heaven Church, 4220 Seneca St.,West Seneca.