Elinor Bale Brelsford
Elinor Bale Brelsford died in Santa Barbara, California, on January 30, 2018, at age 101. She was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Harry Watson Brelsford. Elinor was born on November 18, 1916, in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents, Lester Snow Bale and Laura Stiles Bale, both had been raised in Colorado and graduated from Colorado College in 1905. After their marriage, they moved to Cleveland. Elinor attended schools in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, Ohio, graduating with honors from Shaker Heights High School. After her first year at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she was named "Outstanding freshman of the year", she transferred to the University of Michigan. There she obtained her bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology. She worked as an assistant at the Psychology Department and in the graduate school's Institute of Human Development. Among her honorary associations, she was a member of both Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi societies.
In 1940, she was married to Harry Watson Brelsford of Birmingham, Michigan, who had received his Engineering and Law degrees, also at the University of Michigan. The two had met on the University campus at a series of lectures on marriage. They spent their first year of marriage in South Bend, Indiana, where Harry took a job with the Patent Law Department of Bendix Aviation Corporation. At the beginning of World War II, the company relocated them to California. As part of the war effort, Elinor worked as a draftsman at Lockheed Aviation in Burbank. They moved north when Harry was commissioned by the Navy and assigned to the Manhattan Project, which was located on the U.C. Berkeley campus. Following the war, they lived in Pasadena, California for several years until choosing Santa Barbara as their permanent home in 1949. Elinor was the director of the Oaks Parent Child Workshop in Santa Barbara for 31 years, working with parents and their preschool children. The program was administered by the Adult Education Division of the Santa Barbara City College. During this time she was involved in many early child activities, locally and statewide. She headed one state conference that was hosted by the Santa Barbara Early Childhood Association. In celebration of her 25th year at the Oaks Parent Child Workshop, the participating parents designed and constructed a playground in her honor in Oak Park. Elinor also taught University of California Extension classes in preschool curriculum and administration. In addition, she directed and instructed the U.C. overseas summer schools program in"Comparative Education of Young Children". This overseas program studied in many countries around the world. She gave numerous lectures on foreign education to local Santa Barbara groups.
After her retirement in 1982, Elinor continued to travel extensively and enjoyed swimming, dancing, genealogy, and playing the piano. She was active in the Santa Barbara Woman's Club, Santa Barbara Genealogy Society, Stardusters, Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae, and PEO.
Elinor is survived by her two adult children, Marcia Brelsford who lives in Marietta, Georgia, and John Bale Brelsford of Fresno, California. John and his ex-wife Diana have two children, Jennifer and Daniel Brelsford, and two grandchildren. Elinor's only brother, Edward S. Bale proceeded her death.
There will be no public services. The family request that any remembrances be sent to the Santa Barbara Foundation at 1111 Chapala St., Suite 200, Santa Barbara, California 93101.
Arrangements made by McDermott-Crockett Mortuary