• Eleanor Van Vechten
    November 17,2011

    Eleanor Van Vechten

    MONTPELIER — Eleanor Van Vechten passed away peacefully Nov. 5, 2011, in her sleep at home in Grants Pass, Ore. A service will be held at a later date in Vermont.

    Eleanor was born Feb. 28, 1910, in Battle Creek, Mich., during the time that her parents were on furlough from missionary work in Japan. She grew up in Japan and attended the Royal Canadian Academy for Girls in Kobe, Japan.

    At age 17, she crossed the Pacific alone on a steamer. When she arrived in San Francisco, friends arranged a trip across the country alone by train to New Jersey where she stayed with relatives.

    She attended New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass College, a part of Rutgers University), majoring in English literature.

    She married George Wendell Van Vechten Jr. in 1931 and raised two children. When the children reached their teens, Eleanor started teaching elementary school and eventually got a master’s degree at Rutgers University.

    After teaching a number of years, she took a half-year sabbatical and went on a trip around the world. She took another world tour after she retired.

    She lived many years in Vermont after retiring. She also lived in California for 10 years before returning to Vermont. Eleanor eventually came out to Oregon to be near her son in 2005.

    Eleanor’s hobbies included innovative teaching methods, dramatics, nature, gardening, cats, book discussion groups, inventing word games and making friends. She enjoyed her book collection and loved to look things up for people.

    Eleanor is survived by her son, George Van Vechten III. Grandchildren include Robert Van Vechten, Deborah Alexander and Michelle LaFontaine. There are also several great-grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews.

    She was preceded in death by her parents, Christina and David Ruigh; two brothers, Willy and Alec; two sisters, Jenny and Alice; her husband, Wendell; and a daughter, Kathe.

    The family wishes to thank Eleanor’s caregiver, Susan Lerch, for the care, love and attention given to her in the last few years of her life.

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