Eleanor Velarde

September 4, 1937 ~ March 25, 2020

You should write a book about your life!
People would often say that to Eleanor, but the truth was, she lived the life.  A rich full life.

 Eleanor Velarde was born in Los Angeles, California on Sept. 4th, 1937 and passed away peacefully in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on March 25th, 2020.
The daughter of Mia Engelman and renowned scientist Wolfgang Klemperer, she grew up in Santa Monica where her lifelong love of playing tennis began. (Rafael Nadal just lost his biggest fan).

 She went on to become a theatre major at UCLA and from there, started working in the entertainment industry as a TV producer on live sporting events, game shows and various other projects. Through this work she met her first husband, John, and they produced and directed many projects together, one of the highlights being the commercials for John F. Kennedys presidential campaign. They had one son together, her beloved Greg.

 Eleanors political activism began long before the Kennedy campaign and continued throughout her life.

 Her love of nature and adventure led her to become a rancher, a glider pilot and a whitewater rafting enthusiast who led expeditions down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Always exploring new frontiers, Eleanor became a teacher and moved to Arizona to live on the Navajo Reservation. There, she created the first TV station on the reservation, started with equipment donated by her contacts at Sony and ABC in Hollywood and fully operated by her Navajo students from the high school where she taught. That TV station still exists today, over 30 years later.

 She travelled to many different places around the world but fell in in love with the Yukon on a visit in 1980 and finally moved to Whitehorse in 1991 and never left.  She was a frontier woman through and through and the Yukon was the perfect place for her.
While in the Yukon she was (among many other things), a volunteer counselor at the Yukon Correctional Centre, a leader of several healing circles, a volunteer at the food bank, a co-owner and manager of Takhini Hot Springs and also became heavily involved with the First Nations community.

 Throughout her life she was always a willing student, teacher, counselor, and healer.  To anyone that knew her, her spirit was generous, kind and wise. She was a friend to everyone and everyone she encountered became family. She believed there was always enough love to go around. Most importantly, she was an amazing mother.
She is survived by her son Greg, her daughter-in-law, Joan and her brother Walt. She will be greatly missed.

 In lieu of flowers or donations, Eleanor requests that you do something kind for someone else.

8 Comments

  1. Laurie Thompson

    I had the delight of meeting Eleanor during lunch with my mother at Whistlebend, then again at my mother’s memorial gathering there. I enjoyed talking with her, but had little idea of her fascination life history. What a life! I understand better now why my mom found her a kindred spirit!

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  2. Mark Evans-Ehricht

    Eleanor was a gift to so many people with her warm intelligence, committed kindness, fascination with EVERYTHING! We both love tennis. We played together many, but not enough, times…we talked professional tennis and the great players and their matches.

    Eleanor delighted me, plain and simple. She was adventurous, independent, and soooooo very nice, which many adventurous and independent people lack. She was a model of a wonderful person. Go well, Eleanor….and her reply to me might be…’well, Mark, of course I will!’

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  3. carole

    what a remarkable woman!

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  4. Gail Peekeekoot

    I am so relieved for Eleanor and know she is off to her next Great Adventure. I first met her in the 1980’s when we were offering Attunements — a form of energy healing — at a gathering at Pelly Crossing. Eleanor was a woman of incredible depth, intelligence, heart, and Spirit. She was committed to working with her personal power well and wisely and was engaged with Right Use of Power facilitation. Eleanor had a wonderful up-side – down and gentle sense of humour. She was also practical and detail oriented to a fault. This was probably a double-edged sword to the people with whom she lived in community. The day before her ascension, she sent an email to let me know her friend would be sending me her drum! Only Eleanor. I love her and hope she visits often. Her wisdom and love remain with me. Yay Eleanor! Yours was a great life and a good death. Thanks to Canada for MAiD and thanks to Whistlebend for the beautiful surround for my dear friend. Greg…I only met you once by Skype but please know the depth of love and pride your mother held for you and Joan. Sending you love.

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  5. Larry nukon

    She was kind very peaceful her spirit was so patient with her surroundings and I always thought the world for her she was there for me when I was going through some very hard times

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  6. Debra Fendrick

    To Eleanor’s family – my condolences on Eleanor’s passing – she was very kind to my mom and me when our lives intersected at Macauley Lodge . I I was always struck with Eleanor’s vibrancy, keen intelligence and warmth – she was a very special human being and I was glad to know her, even briefly.

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  7. Kim Solonick

    Eleanor was a dear, sweet, strong woman. She performed my wedding ceremony back in 2001. She brought such joy to me every moment I spent with her.

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