VAN VALKENBURGH, Mary Elizabeth
known to family and friends as "Biz" or "Van", formerly of Decatur, GA and Cartersville, GA, passed peacefully at her home in Canterbury Court on July 9, 2022, after celebrating her 101st birthday. Born May 25, 1921, to Raymond and Ruth Twilliger Van Valkenburg, in Kingston, New York, her childhood home overlooked the Hudson River. Van was a member of the National Association of the Van Valkenburgh Family, Inc., and could trace her lineage back to ancestors who immigrated from The Netherlands in 1664 to New Amsterdam.
Van graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1943. As an undergraduate she participated in basketball, tennis, hockey, baseball and skiing; She was awarded the SLU Club Award by the women's athletic honorary and arranged and hosted a visit by U.S. and Wimbledon tennis champion Alice Marble for a tennis exhibition. President of the Women's Athletic Association as a senior, Van served in a staff capacity when military service claimed several athletic staff members. She refereed team sports and helped with physical education classes. Van played a major leadership role in women's athletics and helped lay the foundation for today's expanded women's intercollegiate athletic program. She was inducted into the University's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
Van had a variety of jobs. During WWII, she worked as a library researcher at the Netherlands Information Bureau, New York City (1943-1945). She was the Executive Director Young Women's Christian Association, Kingston, New York (1947-1949). She held various positions in local councils Girl Scouts United States of America (1945-1947, 50-56, 57-60, 80-83 ) and was a public relations consultant on national staff in Dallas, Atlanta, and New York City (1960-1980).
Van was a member of Holy Trinity Parish, Decatur, GA, where she was a founding member of the Feminist Theological Reflection Group, organized the Trinity Travelers' trip stateside and abroad and oversaw the Children's stained glass window in Tisdale Hall and the Women's etched window in the Chapel.
Her most enduring love, besides her family and friends, was her love of animals. She rescued dachshunds to greyhounds, and many a stray cat. She loved having Pixie, her long-haired dachshund, visit her at Canterbury Court, and enjoyed telling tales about all her pets.
Van is survived by her cousins and by the team of Holy Trinity Parishioners who befriended, cared for, and loved her through her last years: Penny, Susan & Rich, and Marc & Abbe. She was predeceased by her parents, her cousin Margie Moody and friend Barbara Thompson.
A memorial service will be held at Holy Trinity Parish at 11 AM on Saturday, October 29 in the Nave followed by a buffet lunch. Memorial donations may be made to Holy Trinity Parish, 515 E Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030