Eleanor Holloway

Memorial Service

1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Saturday, March 2, 2024
American Legion Post 6
3700 NC-54
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Memorial Service

Obituary of Eleanor Margaret Holloway

Please share a memory of Eleanor to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

The force of nature that friends would come to know as Ellie–a brave, kind hearted, hardworking, intelligent woman who cheated death an entire eight times–passed this past Wednesday in peace at Duke University Hospital. (If you didn’t know her, we’re so sorry you missed her!) Her adventure began in Caracas, Venezuela, as the only child of Arie and Margaretha Van Dijk following their leaving of the Kingdom of Holland with the advent of World War II. In January 1946 she and her parents immigrated to the United States through Brownsville, Texas. Ellie would move a total of 32 times with her engineer father and artistically-gifted mother from then until the end of her secondary education–where she graduated 5th in her class at Greensburg High School in Pennsylvania–and constantly worked to connect through kindness and favors to ease others’ lives. 

After high school, Ellie initially hoped to become a veterinarian (and would remain an inveterate animal lover for the entirety of her life), but through her education at Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing and via scholarship to earn her BSN at Wayne State University in Detroit, she would ultimately go about looking out for others who also needed quality care but could not always advocate for themselves: children. She worked as a pediatric nurse until 1979 and retained that love for all of her life, often asking her teacher daughter, “Is anyone at work having a baby?,” and then proceeding to crochet an exquisite blanket in the color they favored.  

And we cannot forget to note the love of her life: Don. He asked for her hand in 1961, took it in marriage on August 11, 1962, and was holding it until and during her final moments here. Together they first resided in Pennsylvania, where she worked at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh; moved to Sitka, Alaska, where she worked at Mount Edgecombe Alaska Native Hospital; traveled to Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she worked at the University of Michigan; and in the late 1960s pulled up stakes to settle in Durham, North Carolina, where she worked at the University of North Carolina. One day on a drive with her husband, Ellie saw a two-story house that appealed to her:

“That’s a nice house up there.”

“You want it?”


“Okay, we’ll get it.”

And they did.

After so much upheaval and moving in her childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, she thereby laid down her strongest roots in Chapel Hill, where she lived in that house from 1970 onward. There she and Don raised two daughters and quite a few spoiled cats. If you drove in Chapel Hill in the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and even the early ‘00s, you surely saw Ellie; you could not possibly miss her cheerful light blue Volvo tooling around town on her errands to help with Meals on Wheels and Ronald McDonald House, collect Campbell’s Labels for Education to purchase gym equipment for Ephesus Elementary, and volunteer with Friends of Orange County Social Services to drop off some of the literal thousands of blankets, shawls, scarves, jackets, lap robes, slippers, and hats she crocheted or knit that were as warm as her personality and given to babies, cancer patients, and soldiers. She will be remembered for her creative talents, community volunteer activities, and being a helping hand.

Ellie was preceded in death by her aforementioned parents. She is survived by her still-loving husband Donald Holloway, daughters, a granddaughter, and acts of kindness and love in her name. Additionally, contributions in her name to the USO at RDU, Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill, Charles House, or a charity of one's choice are very welcome and greatly appreciated. Arrangements are taking place through Walker's Funeral Home, and her celebration of life will be held this Saturday afternoon from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the new location for the American Legion Post 6 on 3700 NC-54 West.

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