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Elinor Mae Rowan

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Elinor-Rowan-portraitElinor Mae Rowan passed away on February 24, 2017 in her home. Elinor was born 93 years ago on June 29, 1923 in Humboldt, Kansas, the youngest of three children of Walta Earle and John Francis (Frank) Stevens.

Elinor Stevens “Stevie” graduated from the College of Emporia in 1945 with a BA in Education and taught music to junior high and high school students in Bern, Kansas, then became the Supervisor of Elementary School Music in Concordia, Kansas, in 1946.

She met her husband, Lester (Les) Matthew Rowan, when he was on leave from the Air Force. After three years of getting “acquainted through letter writing,” they married in the fall of 1947 in Humbolt, and settled in Woodinville, Wash., Les’s home town, where they built a home in the fir forest of Hollywood Hills. She taught music at Woodinville Elementary in 1957-58 and substituted in 1970 for Northshore School District.

While raising her family, Elinor continued to teach voice, violin and piano private lessons and directed choirs for Woodinville Methodist Church, Cottage Lake Presbyterian Church, Avondale Bible Church, and Bear Creek Community Church. She was often asked to perform solos at life events, known for her clear soprano voice. She refused payment in lieu of a single china tea cup — and the collection grew.

Elinor volunteered regularly at the Union Gospel Mission, and gleaned fruit from eastern Washington orchards to deliver to the local food bank every summer for many years until a ladder injury slowed her down. This same injury made it too painful to play her beloved violin, so she taught herself the mandolin. In her late eighties, she baked cookies for the Awana after-school program once a week.

Elinor was an avid reader, gardener, calligrapher, animal lover, fisherman, volunteer, and musician. She was an expert crochet artist, and also knit and sewed many memorable gifts. She was a long-term member of the Seattle Music Study Club among other church and social groups. Her friendly, warm companionship will be missed by her many friends and family. Her last residence was Riverside East Retirement Community where she formed many friendships and participated in music, art, and played a mean game of Scrabble. Just outside her window there was always a hummingbird visiting, and while inside, an open Bible on her desk.

She is survived by her children Carol Hoffman of Bothell, Barbara Rowan of Seattle, Donna Szekely of Arlington, and Robin Quiroga of Woodinville; three grandchildren, Carry Schmitt of Enumclaw, David M. Grout of Maple Falls, and TJ Berger of Everett; and three great-grandchildren, Trevor and Olivia Schmitt, and Hazel Grout; sisters-in-law Mary Stevens and Louise Rowan, and nieces and nephews Rebecca Mellentin, Phyllis Lehr, Darrel Stevens, Sarah Stevens, Tom Rowan, and Mike Rowan.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Ronald and Delmar Stevens, and sister-in-law Elizabeth Stevens, nephew John David Stevens, and loved cat Sasha. Her husband of 54 years, Les, died in 2001.

A Ceremony of Life will be held on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Bear Creek Community Church, 18931 NE 143rd Street (off Avondale Road), Woodinville, WA 98072. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to: 
Bear Creek Community Church, Union Gospel Mission, Kirkland/Northshore Food Bank and Emergency (HopeLink).

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