Elinor Metzger, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who inspired others with her grace, strength and love, returned to her Creator, Savior and Lord Friday evening Oct. 30, 2020, at Eckerd Living Center in Highlands N.C. Her daughters Kathleen Shuford and Laura Doonan and son Harrison Metzger were blessed to be at her side when her spirit departed this world. She was 96 years old. Elinor was born Dec. 2, 1923, in Atlanta, Ga., the only daughter of the Rev. Elton and Lois Sauls. She was raised in Atlanta and graduated from the Washington Seminary. She attended Agnes Scott College for a year and then at the age of 19 attended the Arts Student League in NYC. While she was in NYC and later in Panama City, Fla., she worked as a nurse’s aide due to the shortage of nurses during World War II. Elinor’s love of art inspired pursuits throughout her life, including drawing, photography, gourmet cooking, and singing and worshipping with her family at All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. That family had its genesis when Elinor as a young woman worked in a wartime factory with a striking redheaded woman from Rhode Island, whose husband and son were serving in World War II. Dorothy MacKaye Metzger told Elinor stories of her brave and handsome son, Earl H. Metzger Jr., who was then manning anti-aircraft artillery in North Africa and Sicily. Intrigued, Elinor agreed to meet Earl upon his return from the war, and thus began a romance that lasted more than 53 years. They were married Feb. 22, 1947, and raised their three children in Atlanta where Mr. Metzger served as Director of Model Cities for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. Elinor and Earl had many friends, and she loved to entertain them with her warm hospitality and inspired culinary artistry. They traveled to France and the UK many times and instilled their children with a love of nature, people and social justice. They were supporters of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Elinor served as a volunteer and supporter of numerous civic and church organizations including being a board member of the Georgia Conservancy and President of the Atlanta Fulton chapter of the League of Women Voters. Elinor went to work as the Director of the VISTA program (Volunteers in Service to America) for the Southeast during the 1960s. In 1981, they retired to Highlands, N.C., where they built a home surrounded by gardens that Elinor planted and tended. Elinor helped found and was the first president of The Laurel Garden Club in Highlands. They continued to enjoy traveling and entertaining and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a glorious party attended by family and friends. Even after the passing of her beloved husband on Nov. 12, 2000, Elinor continued to live a vibrant and joy-filled life. She was active in her church, The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Highlands, as a licensed Lay Reader and Eucharistic Visitor, taking communion to seniors who were unable to attend services. She was a graduate of the University of the South, School of Theology’s Education for Ministry program, a four-year program of theological education that she enjoyed so much she participated another four years. She was beloved by her many friends for her sweet and affable nature, wit, intelligence, wisdom and loving care for those in need. She lived for several years at Chestnut Hill of Highlands before declining health required her to move to Eckerd Living Center. There the staff treasured her for her sweet nature and beautiful smile, which endured even as the pandemic severely limited in-person visits with her family and friends. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her three children who sung to her, read her poetry, and laid hands upon her on her final day. Survivors include children Kathleen and the Rev. Carlton Shuford of Augusta, Ga.; Laura and Patrick Doonan of Atlanta; and Harrison and Jeanne Metzger of Mills River, N.C.; grandchildren Josh and Laura Shuford of Marietta, Ga., Andy and Julie Shuford and Kevin Doonan of Los Angeles, Calif., Kristan and Paul Makl of Seattle, WA.; Charley Doonan of Denver, Colo.; Anna and Daniella Metzger of Mills River, N.C.; four great-grandchildren; and beloved friend Helen Moore, of Highlands, N.C., who ministered to the family with the same sort of grace and hospitality that Elinor shared her entire life. The family thanks Eckerd Living center for their loving care of Elinor, and asks that in lieu of flowers donations in her memory be made to Jubilee Partners, P.O. Box 68, Comer, GA 30629; Cashiers Highlands Humane Society, 200 Gable Drive, Sapphire, NC 28774; or MountainTrue, 121 Third Avenue West, Suite #1. Hendersonville, NC 28792. Services will be announced at a later date.
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