Eileen M. (Bannigan) Luker

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Eileen Bannigan Luker, 94, passed away peacefully at her home on Monday May 9, 2022.

Born April 5, 1928, in Utica, Eileen (Margaret) was the daughter of Michael J. and Mary Ellen (McNamara) Bannigan. Her mom and dad ran a grocery store on Elm Street in Utica where Eileen grew up. Her dad was an immigrant to the US from Ullinagh, County Monaghan, Ireland and Eileen treasured family remaining there and visited and corresponded with them. She was a lifelong member of St. Francis de Sales Church and graduated from St. Francis de Sales High School, Class of 1946. In 1950, she graduated from Marywood College in Scranton, PA with a BS. She traveled to Minnesota after her graduation and completed her Dietetic Internship at the Mayo Clinic, rounding with physicians in early days of their dietetic research.

Eileen returned to Utica and worked as a Dietitian at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and taught Nutrition to many local nurses at St. Elizabeth’s and Marcy State Schools of Nursing. She worked for the Oneida County Office for the Aging for many years, honored to assist many seniors in Oneida County, and wrote widely-read monthly Nutrition Education articles. She was proud to be a Registered Dietitian/Certified Dietitian Nutritionist and continued to be an avid reader of many medical and nutritional periodicals on a monthly basis at her home. Eileen dedicated her life to promoting and maintaining human health by helping patients understand the importance of eating a healthy diet. She believed in eating those colorful veggies but always enjoyed an ice cream cone too!

She was a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Mohawk Regional Dietetic Association for more than 70 years. She also was a member of the Catholic Women’s Club of Utica and the International Association of Catholic Alumnae (IFCA). She loved playing cards, pitch or bridge, and shared dear friends in her bridge club for more than 50 years. She also was a lector, Eucharistic Minister and CCD teacher in her parish.

On November 26, 1955, she married the love of her life, William (Bill) Luker at St. Francis de Sales Church. They shared 43 years of marriage until Bill’s death in 1998 and she missed him deeply. They raised six children in their home on Boyce Avenue in Utica and spent many happy summers together at Camp Virginia on Brantingham Lake.

She is survived by her six children, Mary Ellen Luker and Steven Bryant, Margaret and Michael McCoy, William and Cathleen Luker, John and Margaret (Peg) Luker, Maureen and Anthony (Ike) Talarico, and Eileen and Brian Almeter. Also grieving her loss are 21 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, with three more expected in 2022: Michael and Carla Bryant, Meaghan, Max, Leah and Ida Cohen; Matthew, Jordan and Lennon Bryant; Kaitlin, Dan, Liam and Caroline Coughlin; James and Maureen McCoy; Kelly, Kristy, Courtney and Shannon Luker; Brett (Luker) Williams and Aiden Williams; Patrick, Jeanne, Ryan and Avery Luker; Cameron, Carly and Benjamin Luker; Annie and Samuel Slade IV, Margaret (Maggie) and Anthony (AJ) Talarico; Samuel, Erin, Clara, Theodore (Ted), and Nicholas Almeter. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews in the extended Bannigan-Noonan, Luker-Butler and Cousin families.

She was predeceased by her beloved husband; her parents; her only brother, Thomas Bannigan; her cousins, Dymphna and Edward Cousin; her sisters and brothers-in-law, Helen Bannigan, James and Bernice Luker, Fred and Doris Luker, Virginia and Bill Butler and Ray and Aina Luker; as well as many lifelong friends, including Arlene and Larry Black.

When you enjoy a family meal with lots of vegetables, plant flowers on a family grave this Memorial Day, or vote this November, know Eileen considered these tasks a sacred duty — all to be performed with love. Also know there is not much in life that cannot be made better by a strong cup of correctly brewed tea or an Irish coffee.

Relatives and friends are invited and may call Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at McGrath, Myslinski, Karboski & Nunn Funeral Directors, 470 French Road, Utica. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday at 10 a.m. at Historic Old St. John’s Church, Utica. Interment will be in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Whitesboro.

In Eileen’s memory, please consider Thea Bowman House/De Sales Center, Inc. for the elevator project, or Notre Dame Schools scholarship funds.

Messages of sympathy at mmknfd.com