Eleanor Marie Crahen

April 15, 1925 ~ January 21, 2018 (age 92)

Eleanor lived in and near Elmira, New York from infancy through high school.  Her first home was an old toll collector's house on Pennsylvania Avenue, and then as the depression began, the tenant house on her Miller grandparents' dairy farm just outside Millerton, PA.  Even when her memory was slipping during the last few years, she seemed to vividly remember living on that farm, climbing the hill to attend the one room schoolhouse, helping her parents with their business raising and selling chickens and eggs, and growing most of their own vegetables in their own garden and such.  Eleanor also had fond memories of years spent around the Finger Lakes, especially Lake Keuka, and loved the water and especially swimming, but also the orchards and vineyards around the lake.  She loved to take her family to the nearby orchards and berry farms to pick cherries raspberries or blueberries. She and husband Frank had amazingly productive berry bushes and fruit trees in the back yard in Lewisville, North Carolina.  Eleanor was devoted to her mother, Vera Mae Miller Kelley and father, Ernest Ora Kelley and brother, Ernest Gilbert Kelley.  She was also a devoted wife- she and Frank Crahen had been married almost 53 years when he passed away in 2004.  And she was a devoted mother, taught her children to read, and labored and sacrificed to see her children educated, but she also knew how to have fun. Her family knew well, but others knew this also--she was feisty!  She was a fighter- she stood up for herself and others.  Eleanor did undergraduate work at Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee, a twenty-four hour train ride from Elmira.  After that she was off to Cleveland, Ohio for a degree in nursing at Western Reserve University.  That was where she met the love of her life, Francis (Frank) Crahen. They married in 1951 and lived in and around Cleveland until their move to Lewisville, North Carolina in 1973.  North Carolina was home for the remainder of her life.  She was a competent nurse, taught nursing at Winston-Salem State University for a time, and then worked in public health in Guilford County until she retired. In their latter years Eleanor and Frank enjoyed showing hospitality often, gardening and travel. Wherever their sons and their families lived, they went, but also enjoyed trips back to Ohio and New York to visit siblings, and travel to more distant places, notably Hawaii, Alaska and Europe, and especially Ireland.  When Frank  passed away, Eleanor was determined to make one more big trip- to Japan, to visit several Japanese families she had befriended while they were living temporarily in Winston Salem.  Eleanor had a variety of other hobbies.  She loved to read, and had a particular love of the writings of Mark Twain.  In her younger years she did some needlework, but the passion of her later years was quilting, and she made some amazing and beautiful quilts.  She also enjoyed watercolors, particularly of flowers, but also painted outdoor scenes such as the Sawtooth Mountains, and the lakeside cottage outside Penn Yan, New York where the family had spent so many happy summers. Eleanor had grown up in and worshiped in the Presbyterian Church until the move to North Carolina, after which she became an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Winston Salem. In her last days she regularly attended the Presbyterian church in Pleasant Garden, NC of which her son is pastor, whenever it was possible.  Eleanor is survived by sons Tom and Bill, and by son Terry and his wife Mary; by grandchildren Riley and Morgan Crahen, Patrick Crahen and his wife Joy, Emily Crahen Johnson and husband Michael Johnson; by great-grandchildren Philip and Daniel Johnson and Ivy Crahen.  A memorial service will be held for Eleanor sometime in the spring at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Winston Salem.  The date is to be announced and if you would like to be notified, please e-mail <> .  The family is requesting that any memorial donations be made either to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston Salem, 4055 Robinhood Rd., Winston Salem, NC 27106 or Faith Chapel ARP Church, PO Box 822, Pleasant Garden, NC  27313.

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