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Dr. Eileen Sisaye Stommes – Obituary

Name: Dr. Eileen Sisaye Stommes

Age: 59

Born: 06-20-1947

Died: 07-10-2006

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 15, 2006 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in St. Joseph for Dr. Eileen Sisaye Stommes age 59 of Annandale, Virginia and formerly of St. Joseph who died on Monday, July 10, 2006 at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. She died after a year long struggle with lung cancer. Reverend Joseph Feders, OSB will officiate. Burial will be in the parish cemetery.

Friends may call from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Friday (TODAY) and after 8:00 a.m. on Saturday at the Daniel Funeral Home, St. Joseph. Parish prayers will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the funeral home in St. Joseph.

Eileen is remembered by her family, friends, and co-workers for her generosity, kindness, passion and enthusiasm for life.  She enjoyed classical and jazz music, reading, writing, bicycling, collecting stamps, sewing, and collecting quilts.  In addition, she will be remembered for her significant contributions both on her job and her publications.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. Seleshi Sisaye and two daughters, Sarah Laura and Anne Elizabeth; her parents, William and Laura Stommes, her sister, Dr. Jane (Thomas) Bryan, and her brothers and their families, Robert (Diane) Stommes, Charles (Joyce) Stommes, Richard (Jan) Stommes and Daniel (Joann) Stommes.  She will be deeply missed.

Dr. Eileen Stommes was born on June 20, 1947 to William and Laura Stommes, in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  She obtained her B.A. with a major in Sociology from the College of St. Benedict in 1969.  After graduating from college, she served for three years in the United States Peace Corps in El Salvador.  After completion of her assignment, she enrolled in the graduate school at Cornell University where she earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in development Sociology in 1974 and 1978 consecutively.

On October 7, 1978 Eileen married Dr. Seleshi Sisaye, professor of Accounting at Duquesne University and moved to Virginia in 1987.  They have been married for 28 years and have two children, Sarah, 19, a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Virginia, and Anne, 16, a junior at Bishop Ireton High School.

Starting in 1977 to 1995, Dr. Stommes’s professional career included positions in the New York State Assembly, the New York State Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Transportation, and the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service.  She was appointed as Deputy Administrator from 1995 to 2000 for the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service.  She then joined Economic Research Service in 2000 and served in various capacities as Sociologist and Senior Sociologist until her death in July 2006.  

Dr. Stommes was well-liked and respected, with goodwill and support from her network of professional colleagues and associates.  She made significant contributions professionally through her vision, initiative, knowledge and people-skills.

During her distinguished career, Dr. Stommes published articles, book chapters and monographs that were featured in peer reviewed scholarly journals and government publications.  She has also presented papers at regional, national and international conferences and meetings and has published in their proceedings.  She worked in several state and federal agricultural programs including nutrition, food assistance, transportation, organic food and state agricultural legislations.

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