SEPTEMBER 23, 1949
NEW YORK, Thursday—It is always a shock when someone whom you thought of as a vital living force ceases to be part of this world and moves on to whatever awaits us in the future. For nearly four and a half years Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., had been ill at times. She suffered a great deal, but she was a gallant soul.
Elinor Morgenthau loved life and took a deep interest in what was happening in the world as a whole, as well as in what was happening in her own world of family and friends and personal affections. She cared deeply for her husband and her children and grandchildren. She was so proud of the fine record of her sons during the war; yet, I feel sure that many a night she walked the floor in anguish as she wondered what might be happening to them.
She was very proud, too, of her daughter's devotion and courage in entering her medical studies and keeping on with them. She shared in every step in her husband's career and played a real part in all of his work and in every major decision of his career. Theirs was a really shared existence.
There is great satisfaction to anyone who loved her in looking back on the full accomplishment of her life and yet there is also a deep regret that it was not her destiny to carry it on for a longer period. She was my friend over a great many years. I was older by many years but, when you are friends, after you have reached maturity the difference in years does not seem so great. I can look back on many pleasures and good times as well as on fruitful working periods that we both enjoyed.
When the bell tolls for any soul that has had a real interest in his fellow men and has worked for their well being, then I think the bell tolls for the loss that is the loss of all humanity. There are not so many good people in the world that we can see their passing without grief for ourselves and regret that their share of humanity's burdens will now have to be borne by others.
The influence of the things—small things as well as big things—that Elinor Morgenthau did throughout her life will go on through the years, and her children will carry on in her memory. For those of us who are left here to live out life, immortality is carried on a little through our own memories, through the thought of the people we love and the incidents that surrounded our relationship. Unconsciously these thoughts will influence our lives and actions many times.
Elinor Morgenthau's spirit will still live and work through those who will remember her every day of their lives. The sympathy of many people will surround her husband and her children and her near family. We can only hope that gratitude for her life will in some small way ease the sorrow they must bear and we know that a loving God will say to her:
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Rest in peace."