Eleanor C. Calhoun
Eleanor C. Calhoun
  • September 5, 1920 - December 21, 2017
  • Atlanta, Georgia

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Eleanor Clay Calhoun passed away quietly in her sleep December 21st at the age of 97. She joined her beloved husband, Lawson Peel Calhoun, who died twelve years ago. Eleanor Calhoun was born in Atlanta in 1920 to Dr. and Mrs. Grady Edward Clay. She grew up in Ansley Park, and attended N. Fulton High School where she was voted the most athletic. She loved basketball, was an excellent equestrian rider, showed in Piedmont Park, and later took up tennis and golf. She also often travelled with her father to the old family farm in Walnut Grove, GA to see her grandmother. There she was exposed to rural life during the depression. She saw a different world than hers in Ansley Park. She watched her father hold free medical clinics every Sunday after church on their front porch. She had a wonderful freedom there riding the dirt roads for miles without supervision, but the hardship of the life she saw there also gave her a great sense of empathy and a lifelong thriftiness. She attended Bradford College in Boston and with her self-deprecating humor she recalled her French professor telling her that he would gladly pass her if only she promised never to take French again. Her strong southern accent became more pronounced with age, to the delight of her grand-children who would save and replay her phone messages. College friends from outside the south were fascinated. Her sense of humor, generosity and thoughtfulness were evidenced by her host of good friends, many from her childhood days, others met later by her reaching out to befriend new comers to her community. For most of her adult life her group, The Wednesday Ladies, met weekly for lunch, as did the slightly later group, The Friday Ladies. At Eleanor and Lawson’s 60th wedding anniversary part at the Capitol City Club Brookhaven, held in the same place as their wedding reception, all her bridesmaids were in attendance some of whom she had known since kindergarten. She was a long time active member of the 1st Presbyterian Church in Atlanta where she taught Sunday School as well as after school sewing classes to underprivileged girls. She loved sewing, and loved sharing the skill. She was a member of the Grandfather Mountain Golf & Country Club in NC where she spent summers, and while there she also taught sewing at the nearby Crossnore School and Children’s Home. Years later she was still sewing and knitting for babies at Grady with the Lenbrook “Sew What” ladies. Her faith was central to everything. Her morning devotional included selected inspirational Bible verses which she often shared. Charity and compassion were her hallmark. Her lessons to her children and grandchildren were to think about other people’s feelings – not to get caught up in themselves. She never missed a birthday or anniversary of friends or family without sending a card. Even in her last years as she became more dependent on others she was loved by the staff at Lenbrook Square where she lived and by her remarkable care givers for her gentle ways and kind words. When she lost the ability to speak her infectious smile and bright sparkling eyes could still light up the room and convey her love.

She is survived by her three children: Lawson P. Calhoun,Jr. and his wife Gayle, Eleanor C. Fields, Grady Clay Calhoun and his wife Lucy, and by her seven grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, January 13th at eleven o’clock at the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta followed by a reception.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to:

The First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta

Crossnore School and Children’s Home in Crossnore, NC