Eleanor Van Cott

Date of Birth

October 17, 1923

Date of Death

April 3, 2022

Eleanor was born October 17, 1923 in New York, to Albert and Anna McKay, joining her older brother, also named Albert, and in time was joined by younger sister Evelyn. Although the family knew challenging times during the Great Depression in Queens where Eleanor grew up, she developed a love of New York City which would stay with her for life.

Eleanor passed peacefully from this world in the early morning hours of April 3, 2022, at home. She will be missed by many.

She is predeceased by her parents and both siblings, her husbandWalter, and nieces Rosemary Cisco and Donna Amoroso (Jojo Abinales).

She is survived by nieces Jeanne McKay and Eileen Kaplan (Arthur); nephews William McKay, Alan McKay (Maggie), and Douglas Amoroso (Michelle). She is also survived by grandnieces Carolee McKay Trimberger (Ryan), Angela Amoroso Abinales, Elizabeth Mary Stebner (William), Emmeline Rose Kaplan and grandnephews Nick McKay (Caroline), Colin Amoroso and Devo Amoroso.

Eleanor entered the work force around World War II. Her first job was in the Manhattan Trust Department of Bankers Trust Company (now Deutsche Bank). She later moved to Fiduciary Trust Company. While in New York, Eleanor worked nearly seven years for Joseph Trachman, a nationally known estate tax attorney.

During this time she met her future husband Walter Van Cott. Together they explored the city’s bookstores and jazz record shops on their long walks around Manhattan. They were both big fans of the Yankees and this love too lasted a lifetime.

After a brief time in San Antonio, Texas, Eleanor and Walter moved to Santa Barbara. Eleanor continued her work in law firms beginning with Schramm, Raddue & Seed until 1977, then transferred to the new law firm of Seed Mackall.

Eleanor also served as the Executive Vice President and as a Board member of the Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation for many years.

Apart from the demands and achievements of her career, Eleanor contributed much to the town of Santa Barbara. She founded and served as the first President of the Santa Barbara Associates, a group of career women joined to share professional experience and support with each other. She was also a founder and first President of GALS (Gather at Lunch and Study) and a member of RITA (Research Issues and Take Action).

Eleanor served on the board of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum and on the board of the University Club. She was the recipient of the Woman of the Year Award from the Women’s Economic Ventures organization as well as receiving other awards and tributes.

Sincere thanks are owed to the organizations Visiting Angels, and Visiting Nurses/Hospice for their kind and professional care in Eleanor’s declining years. Eleanor made many friends among these caregivers. Eleanor was also blessed with
the assistance given her by her long-time friend Evie Sullivan.

Those wishing to make donations in remembrance of Eleanor may wish to consider the Santa Barbara Associates, P.O. Box 613, Santa Barbara, CA 93105; or the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, 136 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara, CA. 93101; or to a charity of their choice.

There will be a memorial service Thursday, April 28, from 3:00 to 5:00 for Eleanor at the University Club of Santa Barbara, 1332 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara.

Please RSVP to (805) 966-1601 ext. 110, or to membership@sbhistorical.org.


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