Eleanor (Kambour) Sableski, a long-time resident and musician who lived in Durham/Chapel Hill for 47 years, died Wednesday, May 20, at Carney Hospital in Boston after a brief hospitalization. Eleanor lived at Rogerson House in the Boston area for the past year. Born in 1925 in Providence, RI, Eleanor grew up in northern Vermont and spent her summers at a family cottage on Shadow Lake in Glover, VT. She attended Smith College briefly before relocating to Boston. Eleanor moved to the Triangle area in 1967, and soon found herself fully active in the life of the newly emerging Eno River Fellowship as the music director. Her musical talents bloomed over the years as she completed a degree in Music Education at UNC-Chapel Hill and assumed musical leadership of the Common Women’s Chorus from 1983-2001. As a choir conductor, Eleanor was kind, encouraging, and inspiring. She did not accept bad music (and what an ear she had!), and she elicited the best from the people she worked with. Eleanor was also a long-standing member of the Choral Society of Durham; her skill as a chorus member gave her the opportunity to perform in Israel and at Carnegie Hall, and later participated in the Triangle Jewish Chorale and the Village Review. On at least one occasion Eleanor played the organ at Duke Chapel.
Each summer Eleanor made a spiritual pilgrimage to her family cottage in Vermont, and a musical pilgrimage to SUUSI (Southeast Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute). She moved to Rogerson House in May, 2014 and, in spite of a failing memory, made an impression on residents and staff alike as “a human jukebox”, playing hymns and leading sing-alongs for the residents on a daily basis. During her final days in the hospital she sang to the staff, her daughter, and her doctors.
She is survived by her three adult children and her daughter-in-law: Nancy Sableski and Anne Rousseau of Boston, MA; Steven Sableski of Charlotte, NC; and Sarah Sableski of Wilmington, NC.
A memorial service will be held at the Eno River UU Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Road, Durham NC on Saturday, June 6 at 3:00 PM.