Eleanor Mae VanHoeck-Novelli, age 95, a longtime resident of Eastpointe, died Tuesday, August 20, 2019 at Windemere Park of Warren. She was born in Orillia, Ontario, Canada on May 9, 1924 to the late John Charlton and the late Lily Edna (nee: Jones) Watkin.
Eleanor graduated from East Detroit High School in 1942. At the young age of 17, she met her first husband, Gerald VanHoeck. The couple dated and once Gerald was back from the war, they wed in 1946. The couple bought their first home together in 1947 and Eleanor lived in that same house up until 2015.
Unfortunately, after 27 years of blissful marriage, Gerald passed in 1973. After losing her husband, Sam, a friend of Gerald’s would come around to help with mowing the lawn and other household chores.
The two started to date and one night, after Eleanor made dinner, Sam told her about a ring he found. He found a beautiful diamond ring and turned it into the Eastpointe police department. A year went by and nobody claimed the ring so they returned it to Sam. He showed it to her, and to her surprise she asked, “Does this mean we are engaged?” and with agreement the couple began their lives together. They finally wed in 1983. They spent 25 years together before Sam passed in 2008.
Eleanor worked her whole life, but spent most of her career as an accountant at Borden’s. She was ultimately the “Breadwinner”.
Eleanor’s passion was her garden. She won Beautification Awards for her flowers in her yard in East Detroit and Eastpointe. She truly was a gardener and the neighbors would love to stop by and smell her roses. She had the most beautiful yard in the neighborhood. Her family remembers her huge tomato plants, where if she would walk between them, you could not see her.
For her birthday, Maureen and Melvin took Eleanor to her first Tiger’s game. They rolled her wheelchair into the Tiger’s Den where she rose to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.
Eleanor will be deeply missed by her family and those who knew her.
Eleanor was the loving wife of her husbands, Gerald VanHeock and Sam Novelli. She was the cherished aunt of Maureen (Melvin) Miller. She is also survived by many great nieces and nephews.
Visitation for Eleanor will be held on Friday, August 23, 2019 from 12 noon until 4 pm at the Schultz Chapel of Chas Verheyden Funeral Home, 21705 Gratiot Ave, Eastpointe 48021.
Please share a memory at verheyden.org