Eleanor Meldahl

Eleanor Heyer Meldahl died in her sleep Friday, March 9, 2012. She was 88. Born October 3, 1923 in Vancouver, Canada to Andrew Lester Heyer II and Nellie Mae Dalcour, she was raised in Westchester County, New York. She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1945 with a bachelors degree in art. She continued at Teacher's College, Columbia University, receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching. During this period she studied with Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League. After leading two bicycle trips in France with the Experiment in International Living, she taught at Miss Fines School, Princeton, NJ, where she met Edward (Ted) Meldahl. They married Jan 28, 1950. In 1954, they went to Japan with their two young children, Malcolm and Virginia, living near Yokohama and then in Tokyo. Eleanor became a vital member of the international community, joining an amateur painter's club, taking lessons in traditional flower arrangement and sumi-e (ink painting.) She ardently absorbed Japanese culture, from Buddhist statuary to block prints to Kabuki drama. In 1960 the family moved to Bangkok where she was caught up in the social whirl of the foreign community but pursued her interests in culture and art. Trips to temples culminated in a visit to Angkor Wat. Another son, Keith, was born in 1961. A return to Japan in 1962 revived Eleanor's teaching career. At the Canadian Academy, Kobe, she taught high school art and art history. Her researches in art history claimed many evenings; books and notes spread across desk or dining-room table. An important part of the art curriculum were trips to temples and museums in nearby Kyoto. Returning to the US in 1967, Eleanor took up residence at her beloved Edgewood Farm and soon began teaching art at Nauset Regional High School, retiring in 1986. Over a twenty year career at Nauset she inspired many students who recall her classes as a haven. During this period she was a Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown. She was one of the founding members of Castle Hill, Truro Center for the Arts, serving on its Board and teaching drawing, watercolor and ink painting there for many years. In retirement she took charge of the monthly art exhibits at the Truro Council on Aging, featuring notable artists from the community as well as promising beginners. Her own work evolved from the oil painting she pursued under the comradely tutelage of Philip Malicoat and Joan Pereira to a unique style of watercolor landscape drawn from her many trips in pursuit of her interests in paleontology, archaeology and cultural history. Eleanor Meldahl was a dedicated teacher, artist, mother and grandmother. In each role she upheld the highest standards. A person of intense conviction, she freely expressed her opinions. She showed what it is like to love what you love without reservation. She is survived by her sister Virginia of Charlottesville, VA, her sons Malcolm of Truro and Keith of Encinitas, CA, daughter Virginia of Chapel Hill, NC, and three grandsons: Joseph Geoffrey and Ethan. A memorial gathering will be held at Edgewood Farm, 147 Rt. 6, Truro, on Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 11:00 am.

Published in The Cape Codder from Mar. 21 to Mar. 28, 2012