Eileen Mary McGuire Bathen

Eileen Mary McGuire Bathen, 95, slipped from the embrace of her loving family and into the care of her heavenly family at her residence in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, March 24, 2024. She was an accomplished soprano, bridge player, racehorse owner and breeder, and school and church volunteer. Her most treasured roles, however, were that of devoted and beloved Wife, Mother, Grandma and Great-Grandma (GiGi).

She was preceded in death by her adoring husband of 65 years, Bob Bathen. She is survived by her children Susan Gremonprez (David), Kathleen Lewis (Roger), Mary Lou Bathen Weinstock (Jim), Paul Bathen, Margaret Singleton (Richard), John Bathen (John Brackeen), Amy Langbein (Bill); her grandchildren: Robert Lewis (Carrie), Helen Melde, Sarah Lewis German (David), Dennis Gremonprez, Julie Gremonprez Staney (Andy), Erin Singleton (Sheraz Aziz), Jimmy Weinstock (Molly), Steven Gremonprez, Meg Singleton and Grant Singleton; her great-grandchildren: Jonathan and Lyn Gremonprez, Zachary and Atreyu Keller, Adam, Mollie and Bridget Eileen Staney, Jack and Henry German, Rosemary and Lucy Weinstock; her sisters Margaret (Mickey) Shannon, Myrt (Johnny) Quinn and Delores (Russ) Hartung; and numerous beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.

She is also preceded in death by sisters Suzanne Reilly, Elizabeth Snow, Lucille Snow, brother Gerald (Sophie Anne) McGuire; and loving parents Michael Dennis and Mary Bertha Leahy McGuire.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1928, she grew up during the depression but lifted spirits with her beautiful voice. From an early age it was apparent Eileen was a very talented singer and all who heard her singing on her family’s farm commented on its beauty. And on the farm in Wisner, Nebraska, when she wasn’t milking cows or feeding chickens, she was playing mother hen to her three younger sisters, Suzanne, Margaret and Myrt.

She attended Wisner High School in Wisner, Nebraska and played the clarinet, but singing was her true forte – winning contests and earning accolades. She graduated at just 16 years of age in 1945. She then attended Duchesne college for one year and was a featured soloist of the 46-voice Duchesne College Singers. Eileen continued to share her singing talents with the world by lifting her voice in many weddings and events in her teens and twenties.

She met the love of her life, Bob Bathen, as she boarded a train bound for a Notre Dame football game where she was going to stay with her cousin, legendary football coach Frank Leahy. This was the second time she had seen Bob Bathen – the first time being when she sang at a friend’s wedding, while he was an usher. Although she played coy, refusing an engagement ring at one time, Bob and Eileen were married on September 16, 1950, at Holy Name Catholic Church, in Omaha.

Bob was drafted into the army on their honeymoon and when he was sent to Japan, she moved in with her father-in-law and sister-in-law Delores. All three prayed for his safe return from the Korean War daily. Her prayers were answered and he came home to her unharmed, ready to start a new chapter in their lives.

As a wife and mother, Eileen was truly the woman behind the man and the cornerstone of the family. She encouraged Bob to go to college and ensured he excelled in his studies. As he went to school and they scraped by, living in subsidized student housing, their family grew — first with Susan and then with Kathy, both born in Cleveland, Ohio. Upon Bob’s graduation, they moved back to Nebraska for his first professional job. Eileen’s steadfast support and care for the family allowed Bob to flourish professionally and their marriage continued to grow stronger. She was the tether to his kite, holding him steady and on course but allowing him fly free. The move to Nebraska was the first of many the family would make. In Columbus, Nebraska, Eileen gave birth to Mary Lou and Paul. Ever the supportive wife, she then packed up the family and moved far from Nebraska to Seattle, Washington, where the family welcomed their fifth child, Margaret. And, when asked to move once again in support of Bob’s professional development, she packed the family and trekked to Denver where John was born. At this point, with 6 children under the age of ten, some young mothers might balk at the thought of moving again, but following opportunity, Eileen once again gathered the family and moved to Orlando, Florida in 1965. Little did she know this would be the last cross-country move for the family who grew once again with the birth of Amy. Orlando became home for the Bathen brood.

Throughout her life, Eileen always put faith and family first. A devout lifelong Catholic who prayed the rosary daily, she valued the importance of education and sacrificed to ensure her children could attend Catholic schools. She volunteered for school functions, was always supportive in her children’s interests and endeavors, and even became active in running the Bingo program in support of Good Shepherd Catholic Church in the 1980s.

And, as she grew up on a farm, she somewhat returned to her roots as the family raised multiple horses on a ranch in Orlando. Not one to fear hard work, she built fences, assisted with birthing foals, and cared for many horses for many years. It was Bob’s dream to have a champion racehorse, but it was Eileen’s keen eye and steady guidance that allowed them to produce several.

Together, Bob and Eileen were an unstoppable pair and a force of nature. They were a yin and yang that fit perfectly together and made the world a better place.

In later years, Eileen relished being grandma, and later GiGi to her great grandchildren. She was never happier than when she was cradling a baby or child in her arms, offering a warm embrace, sharing a sweet smile and singing in that beautiful voice that could soothe all of life’s rough spots.

Eileen will be greatly missed by her family and friends, but all who knew her can take comfort in the knowledge that when she came face-to-face with our dear Lord she was greeted with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter the Gates of Heaven for life eternal.”

A visitation will be held at Newcomer Funeral Home, 895 South Goldenrod Road, Orlando, FL 32822 on Friday, April 5, from 5 to 7 pm with a short rosary service at 6 pm.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in memory of Eileen on Saturday, April at 10 a.m. at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 5300 Old Howell Branch Road, Winter Park, FL 32792 with Fr. Derk Schudde presiding.

Interment will follow immediately following the end of the service at Greenwood Cemetery, 1603 Greenwood St, Orlando, FL 32801.

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