Elnora Vader

Resided in Escanaba, MI
Died September 27, 2007

Elnora Strahan Vader, educator, outspoken political activist, and local civic leader died of natural causes on Thursday, September 27th, 2007 in Escanaba. She was 92 years old. She was ahead of her time in her lifelong involvement in women

0 Tributes for “Elnora Vader

    On this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful that I had the priviledge of knowing your mother. What an inspirational and dynamic woman she was…and right in my hometown. She of course was my high school government teacher, however, I have more personal memories of her. She was friends with my mother Loretta Matheson and I remember many afternoons playing with her kids in your backyard and neighborhood. She is a blessing.

    Gale Matheson Nicholson
    Austin, TX

    Formerly of South 16th Street
    Dear Charlie and family,

    I just recently heard of Elnora’s passing. I was lucky enough to have her as my high school government teacher in the late ’70’s. All these years, whenever my children asked the question, “who was your favorite teacher?”, I fondly and respectfully replied, “Elnora Vader, of course”. What a dynamite lady! I have so many wonderful memories of her including our DC trip when I was a senior, especially attending Swan Lake at the Kennedy Center. She had a powerfully positive impact on my life as a wonderful female role model. I will forever cherish the memories of her as my teacher, mentor and friend.

    p.s. Charlie, you are my second favorite teacher!

    Jean (Crnich) Redd
    Denver, CO

    Your mom was the first to congratulate me when I was “runner up” queen at the Michigna State Fair. Years later, I worked for CETA in Marquette and she was on the board. I don’t remember what the problem was, however we were having a problem with some much like “equal pay for equal work”, well your Mom really took the bull by the horns.

    Unbelievealbe as it is, she was also my Sunday School teacher at First Presbyterian.

    What a wonderful lady.

    Sorry to say, I have been out of town attending the funeral of my sister Barbara Jensen Hoes. I just returned and wanted to put my 2 cents in.

    Thank you.

    Judi Jensen Orr
    Gladstone, MI

    Dear Vader kin:

    I read all those sad stories, but feel a need to lighten it up a biton behalf of all the folks she fired up in 1972. She came to the Soo and spoke at our Bologna Banquet, 99 cents a person and she railed up one side and down the other about all the bolgna in Washington. It has truly been a privilige for Estelle and I to travel down so many roads with Elnora.

    Kel Smyth
    Escanaba, MI

    Dear Vader family,

    I am very sorry to learn about your loss. I have many Great Memories of Elnora as I was growing up. I remember the rides to school in her VW Bug, ( the only VW with a gas heater). She was a dedicated teacher , who was very serious about our government and service to her community at both the local and state level.

    As a mother she was very proud of her children and the successes they all have accomplished in their lives.

    The Vaders have been a big influence in my life and my career which would have most likely gone down a different path without the help of her son, My Best Friend Dan.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Vader Family.

    Chuck Olsen
    De Pere, WI

    Dear family members of Elnora Vader,

    I would like you to know how much I have admired and learned from Elnora. When I first heard of her I was home raising my babies and how I enjoyed hearing of her experiences on the City Council and then on the County Board and of her teaching and on and on she went. What a remarkable woman and how fitting that she receive the first Athena award. She leaves a legacy that will live forever in our hearts and communities.

    During Elnora’s last months, I came to meet her personally. What an honor and privilege to finally meet the woman I had admired for so many years. Her smile and the twinkle in her eye will live in my memory and heart forever. May she now rest in peace! God Bless You All!

    Dorothy J. Kollmann
    Rapid River, MI

    I met Elnora when I started spending time with the NOW group in Escanaba. She will always remain one of the “most influential women” in my life.

    She was funny, but her presence alone an outstanding person, and clearly brilliant, focused, feisty and kind.

    I LOVED that she went with us on the bus ride to Washington, D.C., giving me a light and hope and energy that I hope carries me as long as her life did.

    What a blessing! Peace to you.

    Ruth Almen
    Marquette, MI

    Condolences to the Vader family. It was my sister who had Elnora for a teacher. But with Virginia being in my class and Tom in my sister’s class, it opened up the doors for us to have some special memories. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Jane (Carlson) Meyer and Lois (Carlson) Filipski
    Boston, MA

    Just last week I was discussing a book Mrs. Vader had me read in her government course at Escanaba High in 1978. (The True Believer by Eric Hoffer). Although I only had her as a teacher for 1 term, she had a great impact on my learning. She was a challenging but supportive educator, and really took the extra step for her students. Although I haven’t seen her since I graduated, she and her family are in my thoughts. Thank you, Mrs. Vader.

    Dave Tighe
    Bellevue, WA

    Please accept my condolences on the passing of Elnora Vader. Although I did not have the privilege of knowing her, she was clearly, a woman who blessed a great many during a wondrous life lived with great passion, generosity and commitment to a just and equitable world. My prayer is that you will find comfort in knowing that she is at peace and that the gift of her example lives with you always.

    Fredrica Gray
    Windsor, CT


    Sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. Its been a long time since I have seen you. I believe you were in California at the time during a class reunion, anyway you have my prayers for your mother

    A Classmate,

    John Destrampe
    Rockland, MA

    Mrs. Vader (I can hardly bring myself to think of her as Elnora) was the most thought-provoking teacher I had at EHS. Her Independent Study Seminar could well have been called “Find a Passion and Pursue It Seminar.” Her enjoyment and understanding of complex contemporary issues was infectious and her impact life-long. It has been said that the small minded talk about people and the smart talk about events. But, the truly gifted talk about ideas. Mrs. Vader was in this last category. She has left a legacy far broader than her family can imagine.

    Bill Suriano
    Riverside, IL

    I first got to know Elnora in aerobics class of all places. I would tell her that I hoped to have a third of her energy when I reached her age.

    Then, I spent time with her at church. At all times,she was considerate of other people and an example of what you can do with an active mind, regardless of your age.

    Since I’ve know her, she has been an example of how to age graciously. I’m sure her family and her church family will miss her greatly, but find solace in the fact that she has touched so many people.

    Jan Curtis
    Lapeer, MI

    Mrs. Vader was one of my favorite teachers. I was in her first Independent Study and Seminar Government class in 1969-70. She encourage us to think about government, politics and the world around us. Several of us students went to a US/Canadian Relations conference in Toronto, Ontario which was an eye opening experience for me. I’m sure she’ll be missed by her family and the community.

    Nancy Schmitt Kaulbach
    Pewaukee, WI

    My experience with Mrs. Vader is a student. She was so full of life and it did shine through in her teaching. I know she was a good person and teacher , because I appreciated all she had to teach. Thank you for all she did.

    Vivian Ketcham(Sturdivant )
    Class of 68′
    Gladstone, MI

    To the Vader Family:

    I am sending a note to let you know I am thinking of you at your time of sorrow. It’s Jeanne Ferguson Gilbert. I saw on the internet that your mom passed away. I am so sorry for your you all. I pray that she didn’t suffer at all. May God bless you and give you strength to endure your sadness. I have fond memories of her. She was a very determined women, what a great quality. With much love and compassion.

    Valparaiso, IN

    My condolences to the family of Elnora Vader. She was a fighter all the way in her life and approach to politics. I recall, when working as the news director for a radio station in Escanaba, that there were some stormy times between the media and the Delta County Board. Communications were, to say the least, difficult. But, Elnora wanted to change that and I was personally invited to her house one day. She served a lovely lunch and we had a wonderful conversation. I had admired her before, of course, but truly came to appreciate her passion and dedication that day. She was a gift to the community, one that will keep on giving forever in light of the positive things she did, especially as it relates to the role of women in politics and professional, respected roles.

    Ann M. Wilson
    Skandia, MI

    I had Ms. Vader for my government class in 1972. I remember she was a no-nonsense teacher, but she also had a wonderful sense of humor. She is the reason I am involved in my local government and some women’s issues. I fondly remember her..and will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

    She will be missed!

    Nancy (Crawford) Bozenda
    Orland Park. IL

    We want to express our condolences at the death of your mother. She was a long time friend. We really enjoyed her 90th birthday party. She will be sadly missed. We are now in Coos Bay Oregon with daughter Donna due to health problems.

    Our Love,

    The Atwaters
    Manistique, MI

    Elnora was a vital inspiration to all that knew her. Her intelligence and knowledge were impressive, and her service to the community unparalleled. What a wonderful teacher she must have been. It was a pleasure to know her.

    Sam and Elinor Benedict
    Rapid River, MI

    Your mother had lot of influence on my life growing up in Escanaba. Whether it was Cub Scouts, Civics class in high school, or church activities she always brought a lot of energy and made all those things fun and enjoyable.

    My prayers are with you during this difficult time.

    Aaron Raack
    Aiken, MI

    The stars of my high school years, Pete Adamini, Doug Fix, and now Elnora, all passed this year. Elnora was a fantastic teacher and one of the finest all around human beings I will ever know.

    David Stacey
    Arcata, CA

    As a high school student Ms. Vader taught me to treasure freedom and justice, to ask questions that revealed unspoken agendas, to trust my own perceptions, and to work with others for change. Now I am 52 years old. I still live by her teachings and have passed them on to my daughter.

    Joann Kelley
    Madison, WI

    I am very sorry to hear of Elnora’s passing. I had a great amount of respect and admiration for her. As a high school student, I worked with my mother on Elnora’s campaign for state rep and spent many hours in her campaign office. She was nice, fun, and very witty. She will be greatly missed by my family.

    Amber (Ballweg) Martinez
    Vernon Hills, MI

    Condolences to the family of Elnora Vader,

    We shall always have proud and pleasant memories of our association of Elnora as a colleague and friend. Her contributions to the educational experiences of the students of Escanaba High School will always be remembered.

    Jerry Cvengros,
    Okemos, MI

    I would like to express my sincere sympathy to the family of Elnora. I was one of Elnora’s caregivers at Christian Park for the time she was there. Elnora was a woman that always made a person smile, with that engaging personality, a special combination of intelligence, wit, humor, and charm that was truly unique. I will miss our conversations, little projects we’d do, singing little songs, our strolls up and down the hall, and a smile that was contagious.

    I feel privelaged to have had the opportunity to get to know her.It was inspiring to read about her life’s work and the meaningful contribution she made to this community. Her legacy lives on through those she loved and those who loved her.She was a remarkable and inspiring lady and will always be remembered. I know it doesn’t take away the pain of losing her but know that you are in my thoughts and prayers at this time.

    Kristi Sexton
    Escanaba, MI

    I am a BPW member with Mary Vader. We have heard such wonderful stories of Elnora, and will cherish her memories.

    Kathy Hartlaben
    Rock, MI

    Charlie and Judy and all Family Members of Elnora:

    Our deepest sympathy for your loss. Elnora will always be remember deeply in our hearts for her outstanding leadership in our Community and her good example for all to follow. She is home with our Lord and smiling at all of us.

    Donald M and Cheryl L Towns
    Escanaba, MI

    How often I’ve had good thoughts of Elnora over the years. I last visited with her when I was last in Escanaba in 2000. When I was living in NYC in 1976, Elnora and I got together and had a wonderfully good time. I consider myself lucky to be among those whom she could call “friend.” God love her and give her the peace that surpasses all understanding.

    John W, Buckbee
    Ann Arbor, MI

    I was very sad to read of Elnora’s passing this morning. She was an inspiring lady and the kind of person that gave politics a good name. She will be missed.

    Jeff Gerber
    Chandler, AZ

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