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Elinor R. Burkhard

October 9, 1916 April 18, 2011
Elinor R. Burkhard
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Obituary for Elinor R. Burkhard

Elinor R. Burkhard, 94, a long-time resident of North East, has died from complications of a stroke. After a brief stay at a Cincinnati-area hospice, she died on April 18, 2011, surrounded by family. She began her life in the West. She was born to Walter and Ada Raber on October 9, 1916, in Phoenix, Arizona and was the eldest of their four daughters. All were raised in the very small, rural town of Hillside, AZ. Elinor graduated from high school in Phoenix and went on to graduate from Arizona State Teachers College (now Arizona State University) in 1936. At Arizona State, she met Charles Burkhard, whom she would marry four years later. She taught school in Holbrook, Arizona, for four years until her marriage in 1940. The young couple moved to Lafayette, Indiana, where Charles received his PhD, and their first son, Walter, was born. Charles accepted a job as a chemist for General Electric, which took them first to Alplaus, New York, and then to North East, Pennsylvania, where she remained for 54 years, the last 20 as a widow. In 2010, she moved to West Chester, Ohio. In addition to raising seven sons, Elinor Burkhard was interested in many things, and she found the time to be active in many areas. She was a dedicated supporter of educational and cultural institutions and was a mainstay of her church into her 90s. She was a founding member of WQLN, public television and radio in Erie, rallying financial support to get the stations started. She participated in the American Association of University Women for over 55 years and was a staunch supporter of the American Field Service. Twice, she and Charles opened their home to house AFS students attending North East High School. One student, Hank Kikuta of Sao Paulo, Brazil, remained close to her and hosted her in turn at an AFS banquet in Rio de Janeiro in honor of the 50th year of the Brazilian AFS. Elinor loved music and knew its importance as part of childhood development. She taught violin and piano in her home for many years. She taught all her sons to play the piano and insisted that they each learn another instrument. All seven boys played in the North East High School Band, and naturally, Elinor was a champion of the North East Music Boosters. She also supported the Erie Philharmonic for many years. In addition, she was active in the North East Historical Society and a sustainer of the North East McCord Memorial Library. Her church was important to her, and she was a member and financial backer of Park Methodist Church for 54 years, teaching Sunday school, attending classes and making soups and pies for the church�s lunch program. She began traveling extensively when she became a widow and visited Europe, Asia and Africa. She was especially fond of traveling in Spain. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles, and is survived by her seven sons: Walter, Alan, Norman, Dale, Lawrence, Neil, and Peter; 14 grandchildren; 13 great grandchildren (soon to be 15); and her sister Isabel. Contributions may be sent to the McCord Memorial Library, 32 W. Main Street, North East, PA 16428 in memory of Elinor R. Burkhard.

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