Vail Daily obituary: Eleanor Griffith Stolzer, 1934-2011 |

Vail Daily obituary: Eleanor Griffith Stolzer, 1934-2011

Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Eleanor Griffith Stolzer

It is with great memories and bittersweet smiles we convey the loss of Eleanor Griffith Stolzer on Saturday.

Eleanor Griffith Stolzer was born to Thomas “T.J.” and Eleanor Dempsey Griffith on May 3, 1934, in Manhattan, Kan. She graduated from Msgr. Luckey High in Manhattan and then attended St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

Eleanor returned to Kansas State University, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and earned her degree in home economics in 1956. It was at a favorite KSU college hangout, Kites, Eleanor met ROTC Air Force Cadet L.W. “Bill” Stolzer. They married at Seven Dolors in Manhattan on Aug. 17, 1957. Eleanor accompanied Bill to his Air Force squadron’s flight training in Texas and then duty posting in England

Following England, Bill and Eleanor returned to Manhattan, where they raised their daughters, Ellen and Mary Kevin, eventually purchasing and living in Eleanor’s parents’ historic home.

For the next 40 years, Bill and Eleanor assumed increasing leadership roles in the Manhattan business, civic, Catholic and university communities. Eleanor has been an outstanding member of the Kansas State University Foundation Board of Trustees since 1996 and a lifetime member of the K-State Alumni Association. She served on the boards of Union National Bank and then Commerce Bank, Griffith Lumber Company, the KSU Athletic Council and the KSU Foundation Executive Committee. Eleanor also served in leadership roles for a variety of foundation fundraising projects.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Eleanor made it clear she bled purple. Both the Stolzer Beach Museum of Art Endowment and the Alumni Center Stairway are part of her KSU legacy. The Stolzer House at Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community is part of their Manhattan legacy.

Always up for adventure and meeting new people, Bill and Eleanor traveled extensively, creating an extended family of friends throughout Kansas; Washington; Vail; and Palm Springs, Calif. With her friends and family, Eleanor thoroughly enjoyed skiing, tennis, bridge, golf and the occasional cocktail, opera, ballet or tailgate party. Bill and Eleanor were equally comfortable entertaining not only their friends, but friends of Eleanor’s parents, daughters and five grandsons.

Eleanor is survived by her husband, Bill; daughters, Ellen Bolen (Dan), of Mission Hills, and Mary Kevin Giller (Tom), of Manhattan; sisters Mary Jo Griffith, of Manhattan, Martha Dean (Dick), of Tonganoxie; and five grandsons, Patrick and William Bolen and Matt, Kurt and T.J. Giller. Eleanor would find us remiss if we did not also include her five nephews, Tom, Evan, Matt, Patrick and Mark Dean.

The Rosary was said Wednesday evening at St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church in Manhattan, which was followed by visitation. Her funeral will be at St. Thomas Moore at 2 p.m. today followed by a reception at the Kansas State University Alumni Center at 17th Street and Anderson Avenue.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Eleanor’s honor to the Manhattan Catholic School Endowment Fund, Kansas State University Foundation, St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, or the Vail Valley Foundation. Donations can be sent in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502.

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