Community Impact


Honoring His Wife’s Generous Spirit

Jim Frawley may be 95 but you’d never know it. He’s upbeat and his mind is as responsive as anyone half his age.

What’s as remarkable is that he was married for 72 years to the same woman. His long-term relationship with his wife, Eleanor, is something in which he takes pride since quickly changing wives, workplaces and everything else has become the norm.

“She had such a pleasant disposition, nothing phased her,” says Jim. This quality made her a wonderful spouse, and sought-after friend and volunteer for their church, St. Dominic in Southington.

“Eleanor was so humble and really lived her faith,” said Mary Anne Plourde, liturgy lay minister. “Their support of the Community Learning Center showed the generous heart yet vision she had.”

Their long life together included a separation when Jim served for three years in the Navy during WWII and lean times afterward. Fortunately, this was followed by his successful 31-year career at Fafnir Bearing in New Britain.

At the end of each day Jim worked on their house. This haven would become the base for all they loved to do together. Its basement is sectioned off with a cold room for the goods they canned and wine Jim has made each year for the past 50. It has a “cook” room where Jim made fresh pasta, a woodworking area, and a rec room where Jim, who taught himself guitar, and other musician friends had great times playing country music.

The couple’s love of country led them to Nashville each year for the Steel Guitar Convention, and they visited nearly every state in the U.S.

“We didn’t travel overseas,” Jim explains. “Eleanor said there was so much to see here and she was so easy to please.”

In many ways she was the perfect partner—an expert cook and baker, good housekeeper and gardener, and she worked to help with expenses and had her own hobbies. She was left handed and taught herself to knit and crochet. Over the years she made hundreds of throws, sweaters and sought-after, intricate doll outfits, yet enjoyed giving them away as much as making them.

Shortly after she passed in 2009, grateful for the kindness he experienced having such a loving partner and to honor her giving nature, Jim set up the Jim and Eleanor Frawley Fund with the Main Street Community Foundation. The unrestricted fund will share the blessings they’ve known with many others. Something she would have done.