Eleanor Clemens Dix, beloved mother, nana, granny great, aunt, and dear friend, died on December 9, 2021, peacefully in her home in Quiogue, New York. Eleanor, born January 30, 1918, in Baltimore, MD, daughter of Augustus Ducas Clemens III and Eleanor Sullivan Collins, was the oldest of six. Being born only just before her twin brother, Eleanor joked that it was her first “first place” title of many to come in her lifetime. Most of her childhood was spent in San Antonio Texas where, in her teens, she was crowned Duchess of the famous Battle of the Flowers parade. She met Norman Brooke Dix in an often retold romantic encounter while stuck atop the mountain on a ski holiday in St Moritz Switzerland. They married in 1938 and settled into their newly built home in Quiogue, NY where Norman had spent his childhood summers. Their home in Quiogue served as their base, while winters were spent in New York City during the ‘60s and ‘70s and in Boca Grande, Florida in their later years.
Throughout their marriage, Eleanor and Norman traveled extensively, mostly by ocean liners and freighters, to Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, and Australia. The couple loved swimming and fishing off their boat The Lone Star. Eleanor’s passion for and skill in swimming began in her teen years in Hawaii where her stepfather was stationed during WWII. An ocean swim didn’t count unless you touched the barrel at Quantuck Beach Club and her Thanksgiving days often included a polar plunge. In the ‘70s, Eleanor and Norman moved their interest from boating to croquet. Both were fierce competitors and won championships on Long Island and in Boca Grande as well as other tournaments along the East Coast. They built a court on their property and founded the Quiogue Mallet Club.
Eleanor, so elegant in stature, was devoted to the arts; enjoying theater and art museums in New York and abroad. Her creativity was witnessed in her garden and floral design and she was often awarded blue ribbons at the Westhampton Beach Garden Club flower shows. She had a refined style and loved color. She supported local artists and encouraged her children and grandchildren to pursue creative interests.
So what was her success in living over 103 years? She would say she lived in the best of times. She had an amazing community of friends and family. She cherished her home in Quiogue and often exclaimed how lucky she was to live on Long Island. She loved the local farmer’s market and art shows. She had a wicked sense of humor and loved challenging anyone to a dare. She loved laughter at a party and living in the moment. She loved bird watching from her terrace and watching dogs and children run around the yard. As for her longevity, she walked every day and ate half a grapefruit for breakfast. She was quite fond of chocolate ice cream, cookies, and martinis, although she would never admit to sneaking desserts. Most of all she loved her 4 daughters, 8 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous extended family members with whom she shared her passions for the arts, the ocean, travel, and so much more.
Eleanor is survived by her half-sister Leilani Gary, her daughters Eleanor Alice Dix Bistrian, Joy Tennille Dix Amzallag, Elizabeth Gay Dix Brooke, and Alexandra Dix McCabe and their families, and her nieces and nephews worldwide. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge and the Westhampton Beach Garden Club.
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