Eleanor Merritt Darlington
1933 - 2019
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Darlington, Eleanor Merritt
Aug 17, 1933 - January 16, 2019
Fine artist Eleanor Merritt Darlington passed away peacefully in her home on Wednesday, January 16 after a long battle with lung cancer. She was 85.
Born in Harlem, NYC, she was the youngest of five children born to Jamaican immigrants. She attended the High School of Music and Art and graduated in 1951. She continued her studies at Brooklyn College where she learned from such luminaries as Ad Rinehart, Mark Rothko and James Ernst. She received her B.A. in Art in 1955, and her M.A. in Fine Arts and Education in 1958. Merritt was the first African-American art teacher and department chair in the Nassau County district.
Eleanor was involved in the greater arts community and its administration. She served as chairman of the Public Art Committee and on the board of the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. She also served on Women's Caucus for Art; National Museum of Women in the Arts, was Board Emeritus Member of John & Mabel Ringling Museum of Art; Docent for 25 years at the Ringling Museum, board member and former President of the Venice Art Center; Arts Council board member; chair of the Art in Public Places Program; board member of Art Center, Sarasota. She was a long standing member of Florida Artists Group, Women's Caucus for Art and Petticoat Painters. Ms. Merritt founded and was a member of Women Contemporary Artists.
Among her many awards, Eleanor was honored by The Ringling Foundation in 2017. The Sarasota-Manatee chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women recognized her as one of their 2015 Women In Power honorees.
Merritt has exhibited in group and solo shows throughout her career. In February 2017, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County hosted a retrospective exhibition of Merritt's work, entitled Sixty Years of Painting, 1957–2017. A one woman show Revelations of Goddesses was displayed from 2014 – 2015 at Houston Museum of African American Culture, in Houston, TX.
She was married to Lorenzo Merritt from 1954 – 1976, and to Chris Darlington from 1980 to his passing in 2017. She is survived by her sister, Mrs. Pauline Butler, of Tucson AZ, two daughters, Ms. Lori Merritt and Dr. Lisa Merritt, granddaughter and emerging artist Amara Merritt, as well as a host of nieces, nephews and friends. Ms. Merritt believed that "…Art can open a window in time – it speaks to the heritage of the past, but carries these traditions into the future", as we will carry Eleanor's memory.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Herald Tribune from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20, 2019.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by National Cremation and Burial Society Sarasota
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8 entries
March 24, 2019
Dear Lori & Lisa,

I am so sorry that you have lost your mother and that we have lost a remarkable woman. It was an honor to know her and to be her friend. Deepest sympathy and love ...

Nancy Roucher
March 24, 2019
Dear Lori and Lisa,
Our deepest condolences for the loss of your mother, Eleanor, our cousin.
She will be well missed. Our hearts go out to both of you and we feel the
great loss. She was indeed very gifted and talented in the visual arts.
Love, Aunt Cynthia & Uncle Carlos
February 27, 2019
Eleanor Darlington Merritt a loving woman of power was a person who said yes to life. Whether dedicating her time and talents to teaching weekly classes in art for young students at the North Sarasota Library, teaching adults about historical art as Docent at the Ringling Museum, inspiring gallery visitors and patrons through her incredibly uplifting original art, or extending her love as mother, grandmother, wife and friend, Eleanor was the epitome of a phenomenal woman. For me, Sister Ellie, you were a joyous light in the world. I will miss you.
Lonnetta Gaines
February 3, 2019
Dear Lisa and Lori, I offer my sincere condolences to you and your family for the loss of your beautiful Mother, Eleanor Merritt Darlington. I only met her, recently, here in Sarasota, but each time that I met her she was always so warm, kind and gracious. I will miss her as I know everyone who knew her will. With heartfelt sympathy, Dr. Brenda B. Brown, Lakewood Ranch, FL
Brenda Brown
January 25, 2019
Dear Lori and Lisa, I loved your Mom as I know that you do. We knew each other for a very long time, going back to Westbury, Long Island, when you were young girls and Ellie was my children's art teacher.
It was a pleasure to meet her again in Sarasota and I already miss her very much. Much love to you and sincerest condolences. Lovette W. Harper
January 22, 2019
"Dear Lori and Lisa. Eleanor was a great Mother, and good friend to all of us. We will surely miss her smile and humor. Remembering her NY-art showing for the Edler Hawkins Foundation at a Soho Art gallery, and how everyone loved her art. Our deeply felt condolences and blessings to both of you for your loss. -Quentin & Jennifer Atherley
Jennifer Atherley
January 22, 2019
Oh Lori, I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart is breaking for you. Even though I only met your mom for a brief moment, she truly touched my heart with her vivacity, her humor and, of course, her amazing works of art! Please know you are in my prayers.


Karen Nieman
January 22, 2019
Dear Lisa and Lori,
I was saddened to learn that your Mom has passed away. She was such a lovely lady and I was always so glad to see her when our paths crossed.I knew her for a long time when we were both Ringling Docents. She was a talented artist whose work I greatly admired.
Please accept my deepest sympathy.

Marti Grinberg
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