A playwright, public speaker, and a staunch preserver of the spoken word, Eleanor Zonik will be ‘greatly missed by everyone with whom she ever came in contact’.
The former Harbury villager, who was one of the Loft Theatre Company’s earliest members, died aged 95 last Wednesday.
Paying tribute to her mother, Mrs Zonik’s daughter Hattie Ison said: “Eleanor was a woman of the ages. She kept up with the times, the news and the fashions of the day but always wrote in longhand.
“She said ‘I want nothing to do with computers. They are abominations and would probably try to tell me what to write’.”
Born in West Didsbury in Lancashire, Mrs Zonik (formerly Glaser, nee Farrington), moved to Wellesbourne in 1931 aged 13.
She spent the Second World War years driving supplies to military personnel based in the area and met her first husband while delivering to the Czech Free Army stationed in the village.
The couple had two daughters, the youngest of whom, Tasha, was murdered in 1983 and became the first case in Australia ever solved using DNA evidence.
Post-war politics ended Mrs Zonik’s first marriage and it was soon after this that she took up writing as a hobby - a passion which became her lifelong career.
She joined The Loft in the early 1940s and performed in, wrote and directed numerous productions.
As a playwright, Mrs Zonik’s greatest success was having her work Circle of Love directed by actress Hermione Gingold’s son Stephen Joseph at his theatre in Scarborough.
A teacher of drama, elocution and a speech therapist at schools in Stratford and Warwick, Mrs Zonik had licentiates from the Royal Academy of Music and the Guild School of Music in the drama section.
She was a lifelong member of the Women’s Institute and served for many years on the Combined Arts Committee for
Mrs Zonik moved to Harbury when she married her second husband Louis, a Hungarian refugee, in 1961.
They were married for 44 years until his death in 2005.
Immersed in village life, Mrs Zonik lived alone until she was 91 and moved into the ‘superb’ care of the Boston Lodge for the Deaf and Blind in Coventry.