Eva Borglund Gallant died in Ayer on Sept. 24 at the age of 85 from complications of Alzheimer's disease.
Mrs. Gallant was born on Dec. 15, 1929 in Stockholm, Sweden. While traveling in Greece, she met William Erskine Gallant Jr., an American who was also traveling at the time. They soon married, and she moved to the U.S., eventually gaining citizenship. They resided on a farm outside of Anderson, S.C., where they started their family, later moving to Chestnut Hill. In the early 1990s, they moved to Oak Bluffs, where she spent the majority of her last years before being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Her time on Martha's Vineyard was of particular importance to her, as she found the nature on the Island to be reminiscent of her homeland, Sweden.
As a young woman in Sweden, Mrs. Gallant was a journalist for a newspaper in Stockholm and often reported stories for the entertainment section. A high point was spending the day with director Ingmar Bergman on the set of one of his films. She was also a gymnast/dancer with the Swedish rhythmic gymnastics team known as the “Idla Girls.” Under the direction of Ernst Idla, she had the opportunity to travel and perform in different countries around the world.
Mrs. Gallant was a prolific artist of textile works. Her creative abilities included papermaking, weaving, and knitting with wire. Her work was exhibited in numerous galleries including on Martha's Vineyard at Featherstone Center for the Arts, Field Gallery and Shaw Cramer Gallery. She also exhibited her pieces in national and regional shows across the U.S., including prominently in shows at the Massachusetts Society for Arts and Crafts on Newbury street, the Arts Foundation of Boston, the Warwick Museum in Rhode Island, and the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield.
Art was Mrs. Gallant's true passion, and she continued to create work until her illness prevented her from doing so. She had a marvelous sense of humor, often portrayed in her art. She loved animals and had a special fondness for the feline variety. She enjoyed listening to classical music, and liked to take long walks near her home by Sengekontacket Pond. Mrs. Gallant was a kind, loving and generous spirit, always able to find beauty in even the simplest of things.
Mrs. Gallant is survived by her three children, Eva Nancy Gallant, Julia Peek Gallant, and William Erskine Gallant 3rd and his wife, Deanna and her grandchildren Kathryn, Jamie, Alexander, and Nicholas. In Sweden she is survived by her sister in law Gebe Borglund and her niece, Tove Janson Borglund, her husband Johan Janson, and their sons Adrian Tinz and Cedric Borglund Janson. She is preceded in death by her parents, Nancy Borglund (Carlson) and Harry Borglund, and her brother, Tore Borglund.
Her husband, William Erskine Gallant Jr., died Nov. 12.
Eva Borglund Gallant will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease at this time. Cure Alzheimer's Fund is a leading organization in the U.S. that is seeking a cure. In lieu of flowers, her family suggests a donation to Cure Alzheimer's Fund in Eva Gallant's name at curealz.org/in-memory/eva-gallant
William Erskine Gallant Jr. died at his home in Charleston, S.C. on Nov. 12. at the age of 89.
He was born Dec. 12, 1925 at Anderson County Hospital in Anderson, S.C., the first of three children of William Erskine Gallant Sr. and Ione Peek Gallant (Ione McCurry Peek).
He was baptized in the Presbyterian church of Anderson, S.C. where he attended kindergarten, followed by attendance in Anderson public schools: North Fant Grammar School, McCants Junior High School, and Anderson Boys High, class of 1942. He attended Davidson College and Duke University before being called to serve in the United States Army during World War II.
He served in the war as a staff sergeant in the 86th Infantry Division, known as the Blackhawks. His first combat area assignment was in Europe, where his division helped press the German army back through France and into Germany. With the end of the war in the European Theater, he was transferred to the Philippines with his division to await the final assault on Japan. Fortunately, the Japanese capitulated, and the War in the Pacific ended.
Mr. Gallant was mustered out of the service and re-entered Duke University, where he majored in English and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in American literature and writing, for which he had a strong talent. He graduated in 1949 and was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
After graduation he was offered a position on the Anderson Independent and Daily Mail editorial staff by the owner/publisher Wilton E. Hall, but chose instead to follow a career in the Gallant-Belk Group of some 40 department stores founded in 1919 in Anderson by his father. Ultimately, he became executive vice-president of this group of Belk Stores upon the retirement of his father.
During this period of his life, in addition to his retailing responsibilities, Mr. Gallant was involved in the management of the family-owned Lackaday Farm off Abbeville Highway on Airline Road outside of Anderson. He was active in the breeding of fine Aberdeen Angus cattle and for a time served as secretary-treasurer of the South Carolina Angus Association. He developed a love for horseback riding in childhood, and later on raised Irish Connemara ponies at Lackaday.
While on a visit to Greece, Mr. Gallant met Eva Nancy Borglund, a Swedish native and fellow writer and artist. They flew to the United States where they became husband and wife with marriage ceremonies in First Presbyterian Church. Marriage was followed by life on the farm, creating art, and raising their family.
He returned to Europe with his family in 1972, took up residency in London, then spent a year traveling across Europe and into Northern Africa while home-schooling his children. Upon returning stateside they resided in South Carolina for a short time before moving to Massachusetts, and eventually to the Island of Martha's Vineyard. There, he and his family spent many wonderful years in Oak Bluffs. He remained on the Island until declining health caused him to relocate back to South Carolina to be closer to family.
Mr. Gallant had many artistic talents including painting, photography, pottery, sculpting, and writing. He was a frequent contributor to letters to the editor sections of The New York Times and The Boston Globe. He was passionate about politics and social justice, and gave annually to Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International.
Mr. Gallant is survived by his children, Eva Nancy Gallant, Julia Peek Gallant, and William Erskine Gallant 3rd, and his grandchildren Kathryn, Jamie, Alexander, and Nicholas. He is preceded in death by his wife, Eva Borglund Gallant, who died Sept. 24.
His family would like to give a special thank you to the staff at Summit Place of Daniel Island for their kindness and professionalism while caring for Mr. Gallant.
William Erskine Gallant Jr. will be greatly missed by family and friends.
Jeanne L. Wells of Athens, Ohio died unexpectedly on Thursday, Nov. 19, at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus. She was 88.
She was born on June 12, 1927, in Grand Rapids, Mich., the daughter of John and Helen Livingston. Jeanne graduated from Michigan State University with a music major and taught music to elementary school students in Farmington, Mich. to start her career as a teacher. She married her high school sweetheart Arvin (because he was the smartest boy in class) on August 29, 1949. They moved to Athens, Ohio in 1954 in order for Arvin to begin his 43-year teaching career as an English professor at Ohio University.
In lieu of a traditional career in Athens, Jeanne devoted her time and efforts volunteering at numerous meaningful organizations, charities and important causes. She gave countless hours and her energetic personality to every cause she strongly believed and participated in. A few of the organizations, and there were many, included Metropolitan Housing Authority, League of Women Voters, Athens Children's Services, International Wives, The Dairy Barn, Friends of Sengekontacket Pond and the All-Island Art Show on Martha's Vineyard, of which she was the longtime chairman. She was a 4-H advisor of the Putnam Pioneers with her dearest friend, Anne Culbert, for over 25 years. Together they educated and enriched many young lives about nature and the environmental challenges that secured the existence of God's greatest gifts. Jeanne taught piano lessons to many children in Athens and thoroughly enjoyed singing, attending concerts at O.U.'s Memorial Auditorium and once a year, journeying to New York to attend the Metropolitan Opera. She was a big Beverly Sills fan.
Jeanne was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd for over 50 years where she joyfully sang as a soprano and found great musical satisfaction with this wonderful group of singing friends. During the summer months she and Arvin would escape the Athens humidity and head for their quaint little cottage on in Edgartown where they enjoyed swimming in the ocean (one of her favorite daily activities), bird watching, clamming, hiking the beautiful trails, dog walking with Angel (their four-footed beagle companion), sailing, canoeing, shell collecting and enjoying delectable seafood (and cooking it too, as she was an avid “chef” who would take minimal ingredients and create a masterpiece meal). Jeanne loved to travel and experience other countries' cultures. Trips to Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and Northern Africa were highlights in her life. Her interest in families from various countries and the strong relationships they formed were instrumental in her welcoming foreign students and their families from all over the globe into their home to live with no strings attached. She was a true humanitarian!
She led a very active, energetic life until the day she became ill. Her love of life, her optimistic outlook (the glass was always half full) and her never-ending energy (if she wasn't multi-tasking, she wasn't happy) were all special, glorious personality traits she was very proud of. Her family was hoping she would be late (everyone who knew her always told her 30 minutes ahead of the time she was needed somewhere...it was a standing joke with them all) for her journey on the staircase to heaven. But God needed her to help him with countless important tasks she was so good at, so she was “set free” to assist him before her time.
She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Arvin Wells of Athens; her daughter, Leslie (Wells) Peschke of Crown Point, Ind.; her son, Douglas Wells of San Jose, Calif.; her grandchildren Eric Peschke of Lake Zurich, Ill., Christopher Peschke of Crown Point, Ind., and Katie and Benjamin Wells of Saline, Mich.; her sister, Carol Howell of Farmington, Mich., nephews Andy Howell and Bruce Howell and his wife Renee and family; nieces Terrie Sharp and her husband Gary and family and Sally Kaska and her husband Mike and family, and many other relatives and dear friends. Jeanne was preceded in death by her parents and her beloved beagle companion Angel, who brought her much love and joy.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12 at noon at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 64 University Terrace, Athens, OH 45701, with the Rev. Deborah Woolsey officiating. A lovely potluck at the church will follow (one of her favorite mealtime activities).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Metropolitan Housing Authority or the Friends of Sengekontacket Pond.