Elaine Estelle (McGraw) Jonas, a loving mother, grandmother and lifelong teacher passed away peacefully at the age of 85 on Monday, May 2, 2022.
Elaine was born November 21, 1936 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Union City, New Jersey to parents Edward and Mary (Barry) McGraw. Throughout her childhood years, Elaine resided in Bergenfield, NJ. In 1954 she graduated from St. Cecilia's High School in Englewood, NJ, after which she attended Paterson State Teachers' College in Wayne, NJ. Elaine earned her Bachelor's degree in 1959. During her senior year of college, Elaine simultaneously worked as a third grade teacher from 1957-1958 at St. Mary's in Dumont, NJ where she taught her first 55 students.
Elaine went on to teach, tutor, and inspire countless elementary school children for over 50 years before retiring at age 72. Throughout her career as a professional educator she taught in elementary schools in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida.
Elaine married Eugene Jonas in September, 1959, with whom she mothered her five children, Gene, Sharon, Kevin, Brian, and Juliana. While raising her children, she became an expert knitter, avid baker, and sewing enthusiast. Elaine moved to Norfolk, MA with her family in 1966. In 1986, she moved to Florida where she resided first in Plantation and later in Coral Springs. In 2014 she relocated to Nashua, NH where she lived for the final eight years of her life.
She is remembered by her family as never having missed a birthday, graduation, wedding, or other significant event for any of her children or grandchildren. A steadfast and hearty traveler, Elaine's presence at family holiday gatherings was always a constant, regardless of the distance from her home. She had endless energy, happy to live out of a suitcase as long as it meant she could spend time with her grandchildren.
Elaine personified true faith and kindness. She devoted her life to the betterment of young children both in her family and in her community. Her influence will echo outward through time and generations as the hundreds of students that she inspired pass on the lessons they learned from her to their own children. Elaine genuinely put her full heart and soul into teaching not only academic curriculum, but also the concepts of goodwill, integrity, and compassion. Her memory will live on within her family as her own children and grandchildren strive to live up to her example of a life devoted to love and selfless service to children, the most innocent among us.
Elaine is survived by her five loving children, Gene Jonas and his wife Marilyn of Wilton, NH, Sharon Ribeiro of Foxborough, MA, Kevin Jonas and his wife Carol of Bedford, NH, Brian Jonas and his wife Mary of Glastonbury, CT, and Juliana Baniqued and her husband Jessie of Coral Springs, FL. Elaine was a beloved grandmother to 11 grandchildren, Sara, Paul, Eric, Kyle, Sydney, Morgan, Seth, Matthew, Amanda, Alyssa, and Cameron. She is also survived by her sister, Mary-Catherine McGeough, her husband Patrick and nieces and nephews.
A memorial mass will be held at 10:00am on Monday, May 16th at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 190 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford, NH 03110.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Elaine's honor to St. Gregory School, 200 N. University Drive, Plantation, FL 33324 or by phone 954-473-8170.
Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium assisted the family with arrangements. To view an online memorial, leave a message of condolence, or for more information please go to www.phaneuf.net