Eloise Hill Vaughan, who spent a lifetime bringing people together to build community in Linthicum, Anne Arundel County and beyond, died peacefully on Saturday at St. Agnes Hospital in the company of her loving family. She was 91.
The eldest daughter of Loren C. Hill, a newspaperman, and Elinor Mitchell Hill, Eloise was raised in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. She and her sister were initiated into their mother’s chapter of PEO, an international philanthropic sisterhood, which laid the foundation for her life work of community building. Class valedictorian at Mt. Carmel High School, she went on to graduate from Denison University where she majored in English and was a Delta Gamma. Following graduation, she worked as a buyer for a department store in Columbus, Ohio and met George Vaughan. They married within the year.
During George’s service in the Air Force, he and Eloise moved several times throughout the South, and then settled in Linthicum, where they spent the next 62 years. They found Linthicum to be a wonderful place to raise their seven children and Eloise worked tirelessly to improve the community where she saw a need. Seeing that Linthicum had no preschool, in the late 1960’s, she and others from St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church established a cooperative preschool (now known as St. John’s Nursery School). At St. Christopher’s, Eloise also held the roles of junior and senior warden, as well as chair of various committees to help those in need. She prepared meals for Winter Relief for the Homeless and served on the board of the St. Christopher Foundation. Through the church’s mission committee in the 1990’s, Eloise helped establish a community garden on church land to donate food to local food banks. Mount Saint Joseph High School, the school attended by all of her five sons, named Eloise to its board in the 1980’s. She was the first woman and non-Catholic to serve in that capacity.
Much of her volunteer energy, though, was focused on the cultural and artistic void she identified in northern Anne Arundel County. Through her decades-long membership in the Women’s Club of Linthicum, she worked with local artists and teachers to organize Concerts in the Park and establish the Performing Arts Association of Linthicum (now known as Maryland Concert Series), serving as its president for 11 years. For this work, in 2003, Eloise was honored with an Annie Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts from the Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County. She was also named Linthicum’s honorary mayor in 2017.
Eloise was an accomplished knitter. Characteristically, in the 1980’s she shared this skill by establishing The Knitting Loft, a knitting and yarn shop in Linthicum. For ten years it served as a hub for knitters and a space where people gathered to spend time with her and each other. Eloise took special delight in making scarves, sweaters and caps for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Eloise spent part of nearly every summer of her life at Epworth, a Christian resort near Ludington, Michigan where her grandfather had built a cottage in 1918. At Epworth, during college she worked as a reporter for the local newspaper and was honored as queen as a teenager. In later years she served as president of the Church Association and volunteered in the library and museum.
Notwithstanding her community efforts, her true joy was her role as matriarch of her large extended family. Eloise enthusiastically hosted holiday meals, remembered every birthday, and never missed a graduation. Time spent with family was her greatest pleasure.
Eloise is survived by George, her husband of 68 years; brother John Hill and sister Helen Mittnight; seven children, Gregory, Steven, Susan (Kahn), Julia (Donovan), John, Thomas and Christopher; 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to:
St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church
116 Marydale Rd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21020
Epworth Church Association
1161 N. Lakeshore Dr.
Ludington, MI 49431
1419 Madison Park Dr.
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
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St. Christopher's Episcopal Church
116 Marydel Road, Linthicum Heights MD 21090
Epworth Church Association
1161 N. Lakeshore Dr., Ludington MI 49431
1421 Madison Park Drive, Glen Burnie MD 21061