Eleanor (Ellie) L Cali

OSWEGO, NY – Mrs. Eleanor L. Cali passed away at home, in Oswego, on Wednesday June 6, 2012, surrounded by her family after a long battle with Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Ellie was born August 24, 1939, in Baldwinsville, NY, the eldest daughter of Robert and Cynthia (Miller) House.

Eleanor (Ellie) L Cali
Eleanor (Ellie) L Cali

She was educated at 8 Notes school (a one room school house) and Phoenix (NY) High School which she graduated from in 1957 as valedictorian.

In 1961, she completed studies at the State University of New York at Oswego, earning a Bachelors degree in secondary education with a major in biology.

Following graduation, she taught biology at Gates Chili (NY) High School prior to moving to Oswego.

Upon arriving in Oswego, she started work as a secretary at Oswego Catholic High School prior to her employment at the Oswego Hospital Laboratory; a position she retired from after 25 years of service rising to the position of County Laboratory Supervisor.

Since 1972, in between these “other” work pursuits, Ellie was co-owner of Cali’s Carriage House Florist, steadily growing the family business until her illness prevented further work.

On June 30, 1962, she married Michael A. Cali and until late, had helped plan their 50th wedding anniversary celebration. An event she was looking forward to but unfortunately was unable to celebrate.

Ellie was predeceased by her parents and younger sister, Dorrit House.

She is survived by her husband, Michael A. Cali; her sons, Shawn (Gail) M. Cali of Fairfax, Va., and Michael S. Cali of Oswego; and daughter, Anne C. Cali of Oswego; 12 grandchildren,  Brittany, Emily, Rachel and Anthony Cali of Fairfax, Kate Greene of Waterbury, Conn.,  Michael, Amanda, Hannah and Aiden Cali of Oswego, Bobby, Madeline and Nicholas Cali of Oswego; a brother, Leon House of Fulton; and one aunt, Cora Williamson of Fulton, NY.

In addition to her work career and role as a spouse, mother and grandmother, Ellie was active in the Oswego community.

She was a communicant of Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. She was a founding member of the Columbiettes and during her years in the Oswego County Laboratory, she was a member of the Society of Clinical Pathologists.

Her love of reading and history led her to new pursuits after retirement.

She served for many years as a member of the Oswego County Genealogy Society, to include terms as president and treasurer. Ellie was a member of the Underground Railroad Commission working in many capacities, including conducting research and publishing historical texts. She also served as a volunteer at the H. Lee White Marine Museum.

The Oswego Public Library Board of Trustees recently awarded emerita status to Mrs. Cali for her many years of service and dedication to the library in which she served in a variety of capacities to include president. She served on the board from 2000-2009.

Mrs. Cali was instrumental in leading the organization during the Building Renovation and Expansion Project, which led to the beautiful library that serves Oswego County today.

Calling hours will be held at the Dain-Cullinan Funeral Home, 112 E. Second St., Oswego, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Funeral services will be held on Monday at10:30 a.m. at Saint Stephen the King Catholic Church, 138 Niagara St., Oswego.


  1. Someone who has done so much for Oswego, can only be considered part of the soul of the place. As we know, souls can’t die, so she’ll always be with us in some way! I will always picture her at City Library, delivering flowers to a wide variety of events (including our wedding in 1983!), and so many other venues in which she was active during her lifetime.

    The next time anyone enters our renovated and enhanced City Library, I think we should all say a silent prayer for Eli Cali!

    Rest in Peace, great lady! And thank you for all you’ve done to make Oswego a better place.

    Debbie Engelke

  2. Did not hear until now of Ellie’s passing…My complete
    and sincere sympathy to the family…Ellie was someone
    who always seemed to know just the right thing to say
    or do…I knew her much earlier but got to be close with
    her when we sat on the Genealogy board together..We
    used to swap stories about our searches…She was always
    quick to laugh and the most dependable and caring
    friend one could ask for…She will be missed by many.

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