Eleanor Virginia (Martin) Van Dyke, 106, passed away on Friday, March 24, 2017 in her home.
Eleanor was born on July 8, 1910 in Yukon, PA to the late Thomas G. and Nellie M. (Bollinger) Martin. On July 8, 1941 in Sewickley Presbyterian Church, Yukon, PA, Eleanor married Edwin Nelson Van Dyke and he passed away on May 18, 1978.
She was the oldest of twelve children. She is survived by sisters Matilda Marvin and Mary Jane Landis. She was preceded in death by siblings Marie Leasure, Hazel Sterner, John Martin, Oliver Martin, Byron Martin, Ralph Martin, Fannie Hileman, Miriam Kropar, and Helen Dwyer.
Eleanor is survived by her children, Benton (Jacqueline) Van Dyke, Heather Pletcher, John Van Dyke, and Jenny Chapla. She is survived by grandchildren, Thomas VanDyke, Jonas Van Dyke, Elsa Hoon, Nora Pletcher, Molly Pletcher, Dr.David VanDyke, Daniel VanDyke, Jacob VanDyke, Erin Chapla, and Craig Chapla. She is survived by great-grandchildren, Samson Hoon, Kathlin Batson, Ella Batson, Mya Batson, Jacob VanDyke, Madelyn VanDyke, Eva Van Dyke, June Paavo, Ruth Paavo, and Malcolm Chapla.
Eleanor described her childhood as 'rich' with the experience of growing up on her family's farm. Life was filled with shared duties, church activities, and school. She often expressed a reverence for rural life. She was a life-long learner and educator. After graduating Valedictorian of her high school class, she went to Park College in Parkville, MO. She was a teacher in Wyano and Yukon, PA. She returned to McCormick Seminary in Chicago, IL to earn her Masters Degree in Christian Education. She was the first woman in the Redstone Presbytery of Pennsylvania to be commissioned as a Christian Educator. She became Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Niles, MI. She was an elementary teacher at Electric Light, Fairland, and Eastside schools in Niles MI. Eleanor was involved in church work throughout her life. As a young girl she began helping her Grandmother who established the Waltz's Mill Sunday School and was still teaching adult Sunday School classes into her late nineties. Eleanor logged over 10,000 volunteer hours leading programs in children's literature, poetry, and biblical literature at Berrien General Hospital and sewing thousands of lap robes for extended care patients.
Eleanor loved to read. She read the Bible, memorized poetry, studied genealogy, and kept current with events. She played piano and loved classical music. Many happy hours were spent accompanying her father,s violin on piano. She enjoyed sewing, crocheting, gardening, nature, and birds.
Funeral Services will be at 11am on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in the First Presbyterian Church 13 South Fourth Street, Niles, where family and friends may gather one hour prior. Burial will follow in Silverbrook Cemetery.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church 13 South Fourth Street Niles, MI 49120.