The Daily Star
---- — Eleanor L. Belmont
Aug. 13, 1923-Dec. 3, 2012
WALTON — Eleanor L. Belmont, 89, a resident of Walton since 1945, passed away Monday morning, Dec. 3, 2012, at home, surrounded by her family.
Eleanor was born on Aug. 13, 1923, in Gloversville, the daughter of the late Harry and Jane (Foote) Lawton. In September 1946, she married Samuel Belmont. He died on April 27, 1996.
She grew up in Northville, located on the Great Sacandaga Lake. While completing her grade school education there, she worked in her father’s store and also at the Adirondack Inn, eventually earning enough money to attend Albany State Teachers College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching. She then received her masters from State University College at Oneonta.
Eleanor arrived in Walton circa 1945, taking her very first teaching assignment at a one-room schoolhouse on Dunk Hill. She loved the simplicity of that school. Each student was an individual who received her attention — a special trait that would serve her well in her later teaching years.
It was an exciting time. The boys were returning from the war and she loved her new job teaching grades one through six at the little one-room school. Soon, she met a young man and they fell in love. Sam and Eleanor married and soon a new Belmont family was begun. Steven, the first, was followed by Linda and finally, Andrea. Eleanor thoroughly enjoyed this newly dawned atomic age family life raising the kids at home. As the children grew and started school, the desire to teach once again started to grow inside Eleanor. At first she would be called to substitute, but soon she was appointed to a position of 12th grade English.
She loved her new very roomy classroom — now situated on the third floor of the old Walton Ivory Tower High School on Townsend Street. It once was the gymnasium, but was now converted into classrooms. A few years later, the new high school was completed and Eleanor established her room on the second floor. It was to be the portal of escape for all students in the school system as 12th grade English was mandatory to complete in order to graduate.
As the years moved on, Eleanor used her imagination to change the curriculum slightly in order to keep the study interest high. She was able to better teach Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” by comparing them to the tragic couple of Tony and Maria in the ever-popular “West Side Story.” Little things such as this and most importantly, recognizing the individuality of each student, made her a respected teacher. She stayed at WCS until 1981.
During her early years in Walton, Eleanor was an active member of the Truman C. Tobey Post 32 of the American Legion where she served as the first president. Later after her teaching career ended, she volunteered to work with the Walton and Delaware County historical societies. It was during this period that she took on the challenge to document the migration of seven Italian families from the small town of Chiaramonte, Italy to the town of Walton. She penned the book, “Chiaramonte to Shepard Hill,” a small history of a group of Italian immigrants who arrived to better their lives by working on the railroad. Eventually after a generation, this group of immigrants became well-respected members of the community.
Eleanor is survived by her loving family, her children, Steven (Ardean) of Fairbanks, Alaska, Linda Belmont of Walton, Andrea Anderson and David MacDonald of Auburn; her grandchildren, Allison and Mark Clark, Jenna and Jeremy Pettit, Ashley, Matthew, Kendra Collier, Jason, Jeremy and Justin MacDonald; her great-grandchildren, Mason, Christian, Haydon, Camron, Elena, Timothy, Will, Peyton, Olivia; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She was predeceased by her sister, Imogene Scheer.
Friends and family are invited to call from 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Courtney Funeral Home, 25 Townsend St.,Walton.
A Mass of the Christian burial will be held at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 6, at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, 17-25 Benton Avenue, Walton, with the Rev. Edward J Golding, celebrant. Burial will follow in the Walton Cemetery. Friends and family are invited to gather at the Belmont Garage after the burial.
Contributions in Eleanor’s memory may be made to Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820, or Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 226, Delhi, NY 13753.
Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting www.courtneyfh.com.