Eleanor G. Geoffrion

Aug 03, 2018
Eleanor Geoffrion

Seattle — Eleanor Grant Burton Geoffrion, 97, passed away peacefully July 19, 2018, at Swedish First Hill Hospital.

Eleanor was born in Worcester, Mass., June 21, 1921, daughter of Robert Hayes Murray and Edith Blanche Murphy, who both predeceased her. She is survived by her three children, David, Shelia and Peter Geoffrion; daughter-in-law Amy Glass; son-in-law Robert Lawson; and her grandchildren, John and Ethan Welliver and Allana and Rachel Geoffrion.

Eleanor’s father was a professional baseball player, playing shortstop in the minor and major leagues. Eleanor grew up in California and New Hampshire. Recalling an incident from her Los Angeles childhood, Eleanor remarked that one day she was egged on by neighborhood children to cross one of the local tar pits. She ran across the surface to the other side unscathed.

“I could have been killed, but my time hadn’t come. It was fate, and I am a big believer in that. How close we come so many times in our lives, but it isn’t yet our turn.” After divorcing Murray, Edith Blanche Murphy married Charles David Burton, who became Eleanor’s beloved stepfather.

While in high school, Eleanor started the first women’s golf team in New Hampshire. After graduation, Eleanor attended Northampton Commercial College for two years before being recruited by the government to work in the Intelligence Division of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Bright, active and ambitious, Eleanor worked in the Intelligence Library, advancing her position. She rose to become assistant to the admiral in charge of the Nuremberg Trials.

During World War II, she continued her education, taking classes at American University. She thoroughly enjoyed her life during those years in cosmopolitan Washington. She also continued to play golf whenever she could. Sometimes her boss and she would make extra money playing unsuspecting golfers. According to Eleanor, her boss would strike up a conversation that would end up with, “How about a little bet?” The golfers would look at Eleanor and think, “Why, sure.” Little did they realize until it was too late that Eleanor was a member of the District of Columbia Women’s Golf Association and had a handicap of 13!

In 1952, Eleanor married Norbert “Geoff” Geoffrion, a rising star in the United Fruit Co. Fluent in Spanish, he was one of the company’s best accountants. He was hired upon his early graduation from Boston University. Geoff established bookkeeping operations for United Fruit in different Central American countries. Eleanor and Geoff met and were married in Guatemala, and for the next decade lived and worked in Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama and Cuba. It was to Cuba that Eleanor and Geoff intended to retire; they loved the people and the climate. However, after the revolution and Castro's taking power, Eleanor and her family had to leave everything behind — including their blue-and-white '59 Bel Air Chevrolet. They were allowed one suitcase each, and Eleanor feistily insisted that she be allowed to carry out her one bottle of rum filled with marinated fruit.

United Fruit eventually sent Geoff and Eleanor to south Texas, where Eleanor raised the family and Geoff organized offices at the plant that experimented and invented freeze-dried food for use by the U.S. military and NASA space program. Eleanor enjoyed a thriving social life in Edinburg, Texas, leading the PTA, the local garden club and the Pan American Social Club. Chosen Woman of the Year by the city, Eleanor introduced ideas and projects people had never experienced before. The Geoffrions were then transferred to Ft. Lauderdale,, Fla.,  where all three children graduated from high school and then went on to college. Eleanor and Geoff eventually moved to Belfast, where Geoff died in 1984.

In her later years, Eleanor lived in Seattle with her older son, David. She divided her time between Seattle and Maine. Summer was never complete until Eleanor arrived for a visit at her favorite home in Belfast. Whether she was in Seattle or Maine, she loved listening to the Mariners and Red Sox games on the radio. Over many years in Seattle, Eleanor found great enjoyment in meeting her friends at the West Seattle Senior Center. Her friendships and activities there sustained her physically -- as a Tai Chi devotee -- and mentally through thoughtful discussions during classes on current events, film and history.

We will miss Eleanor’s inquisitive, intelligent presence. Not shy about what she thought, she did not hesitate to let you know her opinion. Eleanor once said, “Curiosity is the big thing. And having a good mental attitude is also important. No matter how bad anything is, never give up. Somehow, there is always a solution.”

A memorial service will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 81 Court St., Belfast, at noon Saturday, Sept. 1.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Greg Parks | Aug 01, 2018 15:05

We did a lot of work for Eleanor over the years. She was a wonderful person and I enjoyed our talks about the old house and how she wanted to preserve it. She will be missed by all that knew her.



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