Elinor Day passed away
on Dec. 10, 2020. She is survived by her son, James (Janice) and grandchildren, Owen, Grace and James; son, Jon (Joy) and grandchildren, Kenyon and Brennan; son, Tom (Laurel) and grandchildren, Jane and
Kate; and daughter, Ann
(Jeff) and grandchild, Andrew. She also is survived by sister, Thama and
Thama's children, Jeff and Nancy.
There will be no service at this time, but a celebration of her life will occur this summer. Memories may be shared via the Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services website www.stewartbaxter.com.
Elinor Kanaske was one of two girls raised in Chicago. Her father, Arthur Kanaske, was an advertising executive, and her mother, Elinor Colby, was head buyer for Carson Pirie Scott the Marshall Field rival. She went to Coe College, which at the time was the only liberal arts college she could find with a journalism major. After graduation in 1949, she went to work as a reporter for The Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette, eventually marrying James H. Day, (Sr.) who had returned to Coe after military service.
She found herself raising three boys and finally a girl who were hell on wheels, Lord of the Flies with a refrigerator. Our father was an only child, mom one of two girls; they didn't stand a chance. Yet, she was able to channel the kid-energy into a combination of athletics and constructive curiosity, which kept us out of the criminal justice system. So far.
In the late '60s, she went back to school at the University of Iowa to earn a Master's degree in journalism. She often joked about being the only student in her program with white hair. She became chief communications officer for the Cedar Rapids Public Schools and subsequently directed the communications programs for two different Cedar Rapids-based insurance companies and Mt. Mercy College. At two intervals, she started and ran her own PR consulting firm, the last time after turning 70, and was the co-founder and first president of the Cedar Valley Chapter of the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). Somehow, she made time to write and/or edit five books.
In the community, as library board member, she helped win private and public bond approval of a new public library after five public bond issues had failed previously. She was also active with The Catherine McAuley Center and the United Way of Linn County. She also served on advisory boards for Discovery Living and the regional Salvation Army.
Elinor was honored to receive the Alumni Award of Merit from Coe College in 1999, and was especially gratified to hear, years later, from men and women with whom she had worked in communications and higher education who considered her a career role model and a mentor. To these many former colleagues, Elinor was a pioneer, but not so in her own family. Both grandmothers had already broken that ground; to us she was just busy being Mom.
For all of her professional and community service accomplishments, she was every bit as committed to her family, home, and friends. She made everyone feel welcome. She exuded love and caring. She was a great mom who loved us unconditionally.
We love you, Mom.
Memorials are suggested to the arbor restoration campaign for the campus of Coe College, or to a community non-profit of your choice. Donations to Coe College may be made on-line at Coe College or through the mail in honor of Elinor.
For all of her professional and community service accomplishments, she was every bit as committed to her family, home and friends. She made everyone feel welcome. She exuded love and caring. She was a great mom who loved us unconditionally.
We love you, Mom.
Memorials are suggested to the arbor restoration campaign for the campus of Coe College, or to a community non-profit of your choice. Donations to Coe College may be made online at Coe College or through the mail in honor of Elinor.