Eleanor Jean Burton Fabricius died peacefully on February 19, 2022, in Colorado, where she lived her final months close to family. She was born in Vermillion, SD, in 1935, the first of two daughters to Irene Anderson Burton and Oliver Burton. Eleanor attended the one-room schoolhouse east of town, and spent most of her childhood working on the family dairy farm and fruit orchard. She baked the most marvelous pies. Especially cherry.
Eleanor attended USD, where she was a Chi Omega. The owl is Chi Omega’s mascot, and Eleanor enjoyed receiving owls as gifts throughout her life. Her owl collection has been disbursed, and some are now decorating a shelter for injured owls in Colorado. Eleanor wasn’t happy if she wasn’t busy. She was active in Job’s Daughters, and was a member of the Beta Zeta chapter of ESA, running fundraisers for charity and serving as the ESA State President in 1985-86. She was a member of First United Methodist Church, sang in its choir, and served many years as its treasurer, never losing track of a cent. She was active in United Methodist Women. She moved to Olathe, KS, after retirement to be close to her children and grandchildren, and spent years managing the charitable Clothing Closet at Center of Grace.
She worked for the University of South Dakota more than 40 years, first in 1952 while still in high school, earning 50 cents per hour. She was pleased to have bought her first car, a ‘57 Chevy, with her own earnings. Over her USD career, she worked in the Business Office, the Computer Center, and the Registrar’s Office, where her children loved to push buttons on the Lektriever. In 1962, she was USD’s first keypunch operator. She later served as degree auditor for thousands and thousands of USD students, countless of whom were grateful for the secret ways she knew to help them graduate. She loved her work and the University, and especially enjoyed selling tickets at football and basketball games, interacting with students and fans. She greatly valued education and instilled a love of learning. She read for hours each day in retirement.
Friends all knew Eleanor as an avid gardener, and will remember her beautiful canna lilies that lined her yard on Main Street and which thrive in many gardens to this day, transplanted and spread through decades of friends and family.
A memorial celebration will be held at Vermillion’s First United Methodist Church on June 18, 2022, at noon. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Eleanor’s name to USD Foundation, 1110 N. Dakota St., Vermillion, SD 57069, and directed to the College of Fine Arts STARS Fund for Music. HansenFuneralHome.com.
Eleanor’s body will rest beside her mothers in Bluff View Cemetery. She is survived by her sister Dorothy Burton Lemonds (Tom), children Tanya Larson (Nathan) and Lee Anderson, grandsons Justin Larson (Sandra), Travis Larson, and Lorenzo Botero, great-granddaughter Aubree Holder, niece Julie Lemonds-Carlson (Ray), nephew Jim Lemonds, and by her ever-expanding cannas.