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“Dear Hal, Janet & Steve - On behalf of the Dixon Family we would like to let you all know our thoughts and prayers are with you and the entire lovely...Read More »
1 of 24 | Posted by: George Dixon & Family

“Please be assured that our thoughts and prayers are with your family as you go through this sad time in your life. May you be comforted by the words...Read More »
2 of 24 | Posted by: Clarence Etienne

“Dear Hal and family-Eileen was one of the great leaders of our generation in Connecticut. I was honored to know her as a business and community...Read More »
3 of 24 | Posted by: Sanford Cloud jr - Farmington, CT

“Dear Hal, Janet, Steve and the entire Kraus Family I'm so sorry for your loss. KO athletic teams will certainly miss Eileen's cheering from the...Read More »
4 of 24 | Posted by: A friend

“DEAR KRAUSE FAMILY,My most heartfelt sympathy to you.I was blessed to know Eileen through my work at Stackpole Moore Tryon in Hartford.Prayers to you...Read More »
5 of 24 | Posted by: Mary Dunn - Vernon, CT

“Hal and Janet--She was remarkable. Her many accomplishments and stellar reputation live on. Warmest condolences. Vin Apruzzese ”
6 of 24 | Posted by: A friend

“Just when things seem at their worst comes a most unwelcome call that my college roommate has died from pancreatic cancer. While the plaudits pour in...Read More »
7 of 24 | Posted by: Penny (Linda) Leinbach Howell '60

“Dear Hal, We were so sorry to hear you lost your bride. Thinking of you during this time of sorrow. - Amy and the entire Cape Cod Chronicle staff ”
8 of 24 | Posted by: Amy Tagliaferri

“Dear Hal: Gail and I are very sorry to hear of your loss of Eileen. I am hopeful that you and your family are well and we wish you the best for the...Read More »
9 of 24 | Posted by: Tony Newman

“Dear Hal, Janet, Steve and the entire Kraus Family, On behalf of the Kingswood Oxford School community, I want to extend Monica's and my sincerest...Read More »
10 of 24 | Posted by: Dennis Bisgaard

“It is with heartfelt sympathy to learn of Eileen's passing. I worked with her in HR at Hartford National Bank in 1980; she was the most genuine,...Read More »
11 of 24 | Posted by: Terry L. Davidson - South Windsor, CT

“Hi Hal, very sorry to hear of your recent loss of your wife Eileen. Reading her obituary was very informative; like you she was a hard driving very...Read More »
12 of 24 | Posted by: John L. Pepernik

“Hal, Joan and I had wished and prayed for a different outcome. Our thoughts are with you, Janet and Stephen. We thank God for his gift of Eileen to...Read More »
13 of 24 | Posted by: Art LoVetere ...Joan too

“A warm and capable star in the banking world...Ed Hebb ”
14 of 24 | Posted by: Edwin Hebb - West Hartford, CT

“Dear Kraus Family,I was saddened to read of Eileen's passing. I knew her as Miss. Nini at camp Teela Wooket in Roxbury, VT back in the late 1950's. ...Read More »
15 of 24 | Posted by: A friend

“I only learned today that Eileen had died. I send my love and great sympathies to her family. She and I met as neighbors and as members of the Jr....Read More »
16 of 24 | Posted by: Georgianna Dana - Worthington, MA

“Eileen was a wonderful role model for women in business! I have always thought fondly of her. ”
17 of 24 | Posted by: Elizabeth Shelley - Simsbury, CT

“My condolences to Eileen's family and friends. Working for and with her at Connecticut National, Shawmut, et al, she was always focused, ready to...Read More »
18 of 24 | Posted by: Dave McGrew - Milford, CT

“Our deepest sympathies to you Mr Kraus and your family. We will keep you in our prayers. Hugs from your Costco friends Donna, Cyndi and Rob ”
19 of 24 | Posted by: Donna Potvin - New Britain, CT

“Eileen was a role model, mentor and inspiration to many women like me who were looking to expand our horizons into the working world at a time when...Read More »
20 of 24 | Posted by: Ethel Fried

“VERY SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS HAL SHE WAS A GREAT LADY. SINCERELY, ART FOX ”
21 of 24 | Posted by: A friend

“What a amazing woman she must have been never had the pleasure too meet her but with this write I can tell she was all that and a bag of chips as the...Read More »
22 of 24 | Posted by: Lori Russo - Rocky hill, CT

“My deepest sympathy to the Kraus family on the passing of your mother. She was a great woman and a shining example for her family and friends both...Read More »
23 of 24 | Posted by: Christina M. Stabnick

“I had the pleasure of knowing Eileen Kraus when I worked in The Excutive Dining Room She is a wonderful women who was genuine To everyone she...Read More »
24 of 24 | Posted by: Joanne Browning. (Worked at the bank 1991-1999)


Eileen S. Kraus, of West Hartford, CT and Chatham, MA was born to Janet Maines Shanley and John Shanley and was raised in Maplewood and Short Hills, New Jersey. Always bound for breaking glass ceilings, Eileen began her life with a batting average better than most of the boys in her school and the dream of becoming the first woman to be a New York Yankee. Once her mother made it clear that this was an unlikely outcome, Eileen set her sights on other trails to blaze. Eileen graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in 1960 and then moved to Connecticut following her marriage to Harold Christian Kraus. Eileen and Hal settled down in West Hartford, where she quickly made friends and found herself putting down deep roots into a community that she really loved, and that grew to love her dearly. Among other things, Eileen began her love of gardening, starting her first garden behind her apartment on South Quaker Lane. She also pursued her love of music, by teaching herself guitar and assembling a four women, semi-professional singing group, The Valley Four, and they sang at many venues. While pursuing personal passions in her early years in West Hartford, Eileen still yearned to make an impact professionally. Before long, she received a call from then Secretary of the State, Ella Grasso, a fellow Mount Holyoke alumna, and was invited to became her assistant. Her next step was to take a job in the development office at Trinity College and while there she also pursued and completed a Master’s Degree in political science and economics at Trinity College. With the birth of her daughter, Janet Janson Kraus, Eileen shifted her focus and put her professional skills to work for the benefit of her community through a wide range of volunteer efforts often conducted through the Junior League of Hartford. As the feminist movement swept the nation in the 1970s, Eileen was out in front. Always a believer that talent is gender neutral (thus her belief she could play for the Yankees), Eileen started her own consulting firm, Career Search Resources, dedicated to helping women package their not-for-profit and/or non-corporate work into resumes that would position them for paid careers in the corporate, for-profit world. As she became known in Greater Hartford for her talent in identifying and helping talented people succeed, Eileen’s career took a giant, although slightly un-intended, shift into high gear. In 1979, while at a dinner party, she was asked by Joel Alvord, then President of Hartford National Bank, to join him at the bank as Vice President of Human Resources. No superficial dinner party chit chat for Eileen Kraus! Eileen officially began her banking career when her daughter Janet was 13 and her young son, Stephen Harold Christian Kraus was 3 years old. From day 1, she was not only breaking barriers for women by entering the corporate banking world as an executive, but also by setting up social infrastructure to help women (and men) by spearheading the creation of extended day child care options - which she needed for her own son! By 1990, just a little over a decade, Eileen rose to become Vice Chairman of Shawmut National Corporation and President of Connecticut National Bank, the largest subsidiary of Shawmut, with responsibility for all consumer banking and marketing. Eileen’s meteoric rise to the highest ranks of executive leadership was widely hailed as a milestone in the history of America’s professional women. And even after her retirement from banking in 2004, Kraus continued to make an impact. In the nearly 15 years that followed her banking career, Eileen continued to break new ground by serving on Public Company Boards of Directors as the public markets slowly began to recognize that diversity in the Board room impacted corporate performance. In her career, she served on the Board of Directors of Best Foods, Yankee Energy, Yale New Haven Hospital, Stanley Works, Kaman Corporation, Rogers Corporation and ConnectiCare, Inc. Equally as important to her were the Community Boards she served on including the Capitol City Economic Development Authority, the Bushnell Memorial, Aurora Foundation, and the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. In her life, she was bestowed many honors just a few of which include Business Leader of the Year by the Hartford Courant (1990), Woman of Merit by the Connecticut Valley Girl Scout Council (1994), Laura A. Johnson Woman of the Year by Hartford College for Women (1998), and inductee to the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame (2002). But while it is important for legacy to record her life’s accomplishments, what Eileen Kraus will be most remembered for is much more personal. For Eileen Kraus, family was always first. Eileen was a dedicated wife and mother, supporting, nurturing, loving them all deeply. Eileen and Hal were 56-year life partners, both leaders of their companies, who teamed to raise their children, spending unending hours on all sorts of family activities, sports, and home projects, not the least of which were their beautiful gardens. Eileen and Steve shared many things as well but a highlight was a love of sports - especially baseball and basketball. They were both avid fans of the UCONN Huskies. Eileen and Janet were also inexorably connected with their love of music, business, family celebrations, and art. But her generosity of spirit extended far beyond her immediate family. She was vastly inclusive . . and almost everyone who ever met her would say that she touched them in unforgettable ways. She was an thoughtful and active listener who would start every conversation with questions that would create connection as this was her way of showing how deeply she cared. . . plus she was insatiably curious to see if she might be able to help . . even if helping meant helping others answer their own questions. Eileen always set the bar for performance very high . . but only high enough to be motivating, not defeating. And she always made sure you

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