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E. Leora Vandevender

1944 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
E. Leora Vandevender Obituary
Vandevender, E. Leora "Lee"

Ernestine Leora "Lee" Vandevender, nee Mead, was born in McAllen, TX, on July 29, 1944 and died peacefully in her home in Bernalillo, NM, on December 23, 2016, of complications from Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's, and surgery.

She is survived by her devoted husband of nearly 34 years Walter Vandevender. Lee's family moved to Albuquerque, NM, when she was four years old. She graduated from Highland High School in Albuquerque, NM, in 1962. Lee graduated Cum Laude from the University of Denver in 1966. There she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Kappa Mu honor societies and was a proud sister in the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. Lee taught elementary school for 13 years in Denver and Albuquerque.

In 1968 she married Barrie Whitmore and in 1973 she married E. J. Walton. She started working at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque in 1979. Lee married Walter H. Vandevender on April 8, 1983. She received her Master of Arts Degree in Mathematics from the University of New Mexico on May 15, 1983. She retired from Sandia Labs on March 25, 1993, and did volunteer work for the Albuquerque Zoo and for the Albuquerque Art Museum. In 2001 Lee was diagnosed with MS, a devastating disease she shared in common with her favorite cousin Ada Marlyn Lausen. She was extremely intelligent, multi-talented, enjoyed knitting, playing piano, downhill skiing, walking, genealogy, and working at the zoo and museum helping to educate young and old about endangered wildlife species and art appreciation. After many years as an Episcopalian, she converted to Judaism in 2005.

Lee is also survived by her daughter Wendi Whitmore, her sister Mary Margaret Petty, her brother Martin Allen Mead, her nephews Sean Staats, Michael Martin Mead, Matthew Mark Mead, and John Benjamin Petty, her niece Jennifer Petty and numerous grand nieces and grand nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents Bruce Bundy Mead and Margaret Shirley Bails; her first husband, Barrie T. Whitmore, and her sisters Judith Ann Mead and Catherine Ellen Szalczinger. Her family gratefully acknowledges the wonderful help and care provided by Presbyterian Hospice. A private remembrance will be held by her family. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Multiple Sclerosis Society or the .
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Jan. 1, 2017
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