Kinzie, Eleanor –Eleanor Knight Rinkel Kinzie entered eternal life on Thursday, July 19, 2018. There’s no doubt she had an expedited pass straight through the Pearly Gates to be reunited with her late husband of 58 years, Girard Eric Kinzie, her eldest daughter Marie Eleanor Kinzie Bessellieu, her two sisters, Bettye Rinkel Chandler and Mary Alene Rinkel Waldron, and her bothers-in-law, Andy Chandler and Cecil Waldron. Her spirit is carried on in this life by her middle daughter, Betty Ann (Darrell) Prevatt, and son, Walter Eric Kinzie; five grandchildren, Melanie (Steve) Forbrick, Angela (Lenny) Katz, Richard (Hillary) Kinzie, Steve (Ana) and Tom (Amy) Bessellieu; eight great-grandchildren, Ashley (Ricky) Ziegler, Taylor Schlueter, Kinsey Katz, Austin and Eric Forbrick, and Graham, Luke and Lindsey Bessellieu; as well as extended family and friends from every walk of life.
Eleanor’s story starts on January 8, 1921 when she was born in Ft. Myers, Florida, as the oldest child to George and Esther Rinkel. Eleanor lived a full and blessed 97 years, during which time she humbly, but with great commitment, resolved to be and do good. She possessed all of the quintessential traits of being among the most interesting women in the world: adventurous, fearless, rugged, strong, industrious and, at the same time, kind, humble, creative and an avid recycler who believed that everything was useful in it’s first function and well beyond.
Eleanor lived her life in service to faith, hope and charity. She put God first above all else and was the longest tenured member of the First Presbyterian Church on Second Street in Ft. Myers, where she participated in the chancel and bell choirs for more than six decades. At a close second was her family, for whom she spent countless hours cooking, quilting, gardening and canning. She was active in operating the family businesses, Kinzie’s Rose Garden, Kinzie’s Florist and Kinzie’s Wholesale Nursery, which is still in operation today. Next is her devotion to the community where she was born and raised. As a native of Ft. Myers, Florida, she was a member of the Pioneer Club of Lee County, and she gave back in so many ways including generous contributions to the First Presbyterian Church and P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), which provides higher educational opportunities for women. She loved the outdoors, admiring all the flora and fauna, and fishing the backwaters of Sanibel. Additionally, she earnestly served her passion for her hobbies, which included growing orchids and bromeliads, scrapbooking, quilting, and stamp and coin collecting. She was a member of Southwest Florida Quilters’ Guild, Southwest Florida Orchid Society and Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society, serving as an officer at times throughout the years, and she was an international accredited master bromeliad judge.
A Celebration of her life will be held Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at The First Presbyterian Church, 2438 Second Street, downtown Ft. Myers. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the funeral service. A reception will follow immediately after the service, and internment will take place at the Ft. Myers Cemetery following the reception. If you would like to make a donation in her honor, the family suggests: First Presbyterian Church, 2438 Second Street, Ft. Myers, FL 33901, or P.E.O. Foundation, 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312.