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Elisabeth Sheldon

Lansing, NY

Elisabeth was born in Lagrange, Illinois during a blizzard on January 19th, 1918. She passed away in her home on February 10, 2013. She was raised near Chicago and Boston by her father, Ralph Hazlett, who worked in Industrial Relations and her mother, Jean Vanderlaag Hazlett. She had an older sister, Lois, and a younger brother and sister, Don and Ruthie. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago for five years, then taught at Todd School in Woodstock. She married sculptor Robert Moir and they had a son, Paul Anthony Sheldon-Moir. She and Robert later divorced. She attended a French class at the University of Chicago where she met George Sheldon. It was love at first sight and they were married at her family home. They moved to Washington DC for George’s position with the State Department and had two girls, Ayne and Connie (Joanna). They then moved to Saigon, followed by Izmir, Florence, Washington DC, and Algiers, spending about two years in each place. Elisabeth taught English as a Second Language in Saigon and Izmir and continued to work as an artist. She had successful shows of her oil landscapes in all these cities. When George got his position as a professor of Linguistics at Cornell, they settled in Ithaca. They bought an old farmhouse in Lansing and Elisabeth, now in her fifties, created a beautiful garden where she grew and sold plants for ten years. She later lectured extensively, sharing her knowledge of plants and gardening. She wrote articles for horticulture magazines, and three books about horticulture and gardening – A Proper Garden, The Flamboyant Garden, and Time and the Gardener – two of which won three national awards. She also wrote an as-yet unpublished account of three 19th-century women writers, and in recent years she wrote her memoirs. She was actively involved with the Auraca Herbarists in Ithaca and various horticultural and gardening organizations. Elisabeth is survived by her brother and her two daughters. Her family and friends will miss her bright bold spirit, her drive, and her crisp humor. If you knew and loved Elisabeth we invite you to make a donation to Cornell Plantations in her name – www.cornellplantations.org or 607.254.4727.


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