Mrs. Ellanor Peiser White

  • Born: February 15, 1936
  • Died: October 13, 2011
  • Location: Michael, Illinois

Lincoln Land Cremation Society

917 S. 7th Street
Springfield, IL 62703
Tel. (217) 523-4646

Tribute & Message From The Family

Message From The Family

Thank you for your thoughts about Mom. Please enhance this tribute to Ellanor by adding your memories and photos.

Ellanor Kenney Peiser White, 75, of Michael, Illinois, died Thursday, October 13, 2011 at her daughter's home in Springfield, after a long illness.

Ellanor, the daughter of Mark and Leanore Peiser, was born February 15, 1936 in Chicago. She was preceded in death by her husband, John K. White. She is survived by brother, Mark Peiser; niece, Martha, of North Carolina; four children, Karli, Mark, Jonah, and Watie; and nine grandchildren.

Ellanor earned a bachelor's degree in Religion at Swarthmore College and two master's degrees from Sangamon State University, one in Museum Studies and another in Not-for-Profit Management. She was an accomplished weaver with weavings exhibited in museums. She researched ethnographic and archaeological textiles from numerous museum collections and studied with traditional Native American weavers. Her master's thesis was an analysis of prehistoric Native American textiles from the Hopewell time period. In 1986, Ellanor and John founded Ancient Lifeways Institute, a field school, held in a reconstructed village setting, where they emphasized hands-on learning of traditional technologies.

For many years, Ellanor was active in a Springfield writers' group where she continued her interests in history, religion, and comparative mythologies. She and John loved to travel and delighted in welcoming frequent visitors. They kept a flock of sheep from which she spun wool and they gave a home to many rescued animals.

Cremation was accorded by Lincoln Land Cremation Society.

Memorial Gathering: 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at the First Presbyterian Church Hall, 302 Vineyard St., Hardin, Illinois.

Anyone wanting to make a donation in Ellanor's name is encouraged to do so to the National Parkinson Foundation, the American Cancer Society, or the Alzheimer's Association.

The family will be adding additional photographs to the tribute page - please return to see more images from Mom's life.

Link to images of Dad's funeral ceremony (click on the one image to see others):

An old website describing Mom and Dad's work at Ancient Lifeways Institute:


Condolence & Memory Journal


I first met Ella at Sangamon State when we were both working on our MA in history. Ella always had an interest in mythology and I learned a lot about the ancient Goddess religions from her. I also remember her smile - her whole face would light up when she smiled. It was contagious.

The last time my family and I visited Ella and John was years ago on the day after Thanksgiving. My kids were young and enjoyed all the animals at Ella's home. John cooked a delicious meal and we talked late into the evening. I will always remember that last visit. I'll miss you dear friend.


Posted by Susan Jones Gallagher - Springfield, IL - Friend   October 25, 2011

Default Album

Ellanor Kenney Peiser - 1936 - at about 4 months old
parents; Mark and Leanore Peiser
1936 - under a year old
1937 - 18 months old. The photographer liked her portrait so much that he kept her portrait up in his store window

Default Album

1941 Christmas
1941 Halloween; Ellanor and Mark
1945 with brother Mark
1946 On trip to the Black Hills, South Dakota

Default Album

1949 - 8th grade graduation - National College of Education
1953 High School Graduate
1966 - we traveled (moved) across the county in the Gypsy Wagon.
1971 Family Christmas photo

Default Album

1971 with Watie
many needy lambs were moved into the house for care.
Mom sits at the entrance to the cave on Mt Dicte where Hera gave birth to Cretan Zeus.
The Erechtium, named for an early king who was half snake, includes a shrine of Athena.
with Chornya, her Black Russian Terrier

Default Album

At Thera/Santornini
2002 with Watie and Simon
Bathing her feet in the Eransinos River, Kephalari.
with brother Mark and niece Martha
at Kephalari; Holy water drips from under an icon to Mary; "The Source of Life"
Standing Stones at Avebury, England

Default Album

Beaghmore Stone Circles, N. Ireland. Above the Lough Fea, the Lake of Magic.
Iron Age village reconstruction at Crannogowen Center, Ireland.
On a drive through Beardstown IL, 2005
1994: Dad, Mark, Karli, Watie, Mom (and leah)
Karli and Mom

Default Album

with Chornya - dog agility training workshop in Iowa
with Carl
at Watie and Katie's wedding in Omaha
at home...pool-side
New Grange, England. 5000 year old carved stone
1989 - constructed a longhouse for Jamestown Festival Park, Williamsburg, VA. with Mark, Jonah and John.

Default Album

sewing a cattail mat to cover a house in the reconstructed village at Ancient Lifeways Institute.
In traditional native dress
Scots highland dress - billybob teeth (son Jonah's creation and business)
teaching weaving in the Ancient Lifeways Institute "classroom"

Default Album

Explaining the cattail mat used to cover the house in the village. The cattail mat is sewn, while the dyed rushmat in the background is woven.
A display of her weaving
at son's high school graduation
Mom's flock of Scots highland sheep