Eileen (Pedersen) Hartigan, formerly a resident of Chatham, died peacefully at The Cliffs at Eagle Rock assisted living facility, West Orange, on December 27, 2020, at the age of 91. She was born in London, Ontario, the daughter of Emily (King) and Axel Pedersen. During her childhood, she and her family spent a year living in Denmark with her paternal relatives, to whom she remained close for the rest of her life.
Times were hard following the death of her father in 1940, but Eileen went on to become a proud graduate of the University of Western Ontario (now Western), where she served as Secretary of her Pi Beta Phi chapter. Upon graduation, she was employed in the law offices of Wright and Poole in her hometown. In 1952 she and her friend Ellen Wilson spent the summer touring postwar Europe, a trip that would ignite a lifelong love of travel.
In 1953, while returning from a visit to her English relatives aboard the SS United States, Eileen met Daniel Hartigan, a native of Ireland who had immigrated to the US. Their shipboard romance led to their marriage the following spring, whereupon she moved to New York City. Eileen worked as a legal secretary in the office of Anthony P. Savarese, Jr., until the birth of her first child, Lisa. Another daughter, Laura, followed, and in 1965 the family moved to Chatham, where Eileen resided for the next 50 years, throughout which she was an active parishioner of St. Patrick Church.
As soon as her youngest began school, Eileen reentered the work force and was to be found in various secretarial positions throughout Chatham–at Milton Avenue School, in the School Superintendent’s Office, at St. Patrick Church, and in the law offices of Stickel, Frahn & Lloyd. In 1976 she took a job at Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals in Summit, retiring from the position of Senior Medical Editor in 1993. She cherished the many friendships she made throughout her career.
Eileen loved get-togethers with family and friends, a shared cup of tea, a clever joke, Jane Austen novels, traveling by ship, classic movies, music, and giving advice. She had a great sense of humor and her whooping laugh could fill a room. She never forgot a birthday, excelled at needlework, was a stickler for good grammar, and was especially devoted to and proud of her four grandchildren.
Eileen was predeceased by her husband and by her brother, Stan Pedersen. She leaves her daughters Lisa St. Amand of Boxborough, MA, and Laura Giles of Upper Montclair, NJ, sons-in-law David St. Amand and Walter Giles, grandchildren Bryan and Sarah St. Amand and Robin and Elizabeth Giles, sisters-in-law June Pedersen of Hudson, Quebec, and Philomena Slade of Devon, England, and a great number of nieces and nephews.
As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, funeral services will be private and a remembrance gathering for family and friends will occur at a future date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or a charity of your choice.