Dr. Elaine Goodale Whitbeck, formerly of Kingston, died on January 16, 2010 at Mercy Center, Dallas, where she has resided for the past seven years. The daughter of Sterling and Virginia Eastman Whitbeck, she was born in Northampton, MA on August 10, 1933.
Ellie graduated from Northampton High School in 1951 and earned her B.A. in Chemistry from Smith College in 1955. She began her career as a chemist at Sprague Electric Company.
She received her M.A. in Bacteriology from Smith in 1958 and served there two more years as an instructor. In 1964 Elaine earned her Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology from Stanford University and taught several years at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Community College, and Montgomery County Community College in PA.
In 1975 Dr. Whitbeck received her M.D. degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. She then completed a three-year residency program in internal medicine at Bridgeport Hospital in Bridgeport, Conn. and a two-year fellowship in medical oncology at Albany Medical College, Albany, N.Y. In 1981she moved to Kingston, joining Dr. David Greenwald in practice at Medical Oncology Associates of Wyoming Valley, P.C. in Wilkes-Barre. Dr. Whitbeck was a Diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Internal Medicine. She also published several articles in the fields of microbiology and immunology.
After two years in practice, a permanent disability brought about her early retirement. While the adjustment was difficult, with the help of the friends she made over the years Elaine enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. Her trips to Europe, Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and Alaska were very rewarding. She became an avid reader, puzzle expert, gardener and homeowner. Ellie learned to play the violin in her youth and loved to listen to classical music. She kept active with daily walks around the neighborhood and learned to communicate with friends through e-mail. When changes in her health and failing eyesight presented more challenges, Dr. Elaine moved to Mercy Center on the campus of Misericordia University where she enjoyed the company of many retired educators, nurses and other professionals.
Dr. Whitbeck was an enrolled member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (Dakota). Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa), the first Native American to receive a medical degree, and the doctor who reported on the massacre of Wounded Knee, was her grandfather. Her grandmother, Elaine Goodale Eastman, after whom she was named, was a child prodigy, Indian reformer, wife, mother, grandmother, author and poet. Much of their story is told in the made for television movie, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" and in the book, "Sister to the Sioux, the Memoirs of Elaine Goodale Eastman 1885-1891." Dr. Elaine shared fond memories of her family history with her friends. Her knowledge and sense of humor as well as her courage and endurance in the face of adversity were admired by those who knew her.
Besides her parents, Dr. Whitbeck was preceded in death by her brother, Sterling Jr., many years ago. Her sister, Cynthia Risk of Cummington, MA died in March, 2009. She is survived by nieces Virginia Clay Risk of Fremont CA; Victoria Read Risk of San Jose, CA; Alice Goodale Timmons of Jamaica Plain, MA; Constance Caneel Tropper-Risk of Kibbutz Nachshon, Israel; nephews Alexander Spurr Risk of Cummington, MA; Douglas Sterling Risk of Pittsfield, MA and cousin Patricia Perkins of Pittsford, NY.
There will be no calling hours. A memorial service will be held at Mercy Center, Dallas. Dr. Whitbeck's remains will rest with those of her parents and brother in Spring Grove Cemetery in Florence, MA.
Memorial donations in the name of Dr. Elaine G. Whitbeck may be made to Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Center, P.O. Box 370, Dallas, PA 18612 or Hospice of the Sacred Heart, 600 Baltimore Drive, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702. Condolences may be sent to www.maher-collins.com. Arrangements are through Maher-Collins Funeral Home, Kingston, PA.
Born: August 10, 1933
Death: January 16, 2010