Robert Frank Vasquez and Elinor St. Clair married in May of 1958. They moved to Charlottesville and joined Westminster Presbyterian Church.
While working with the church youth group, they learned about a position at Woodberry Forest School. It interested Robert, and he was soon employed to teach Spanish.
The couple moved to Woodberry in 1961. In October of that year, Bob and Elinor became members of Orange Presbyterian Church. Their three children, Mary Catherine, Robert Frank, and Neta Delores, were all baptized and later became members of OPC.
Elinor's youth ministries
Elinor was quickly asked by Jackie Maddox to help with the OPC youth group. Elinor accompanied the group on trips to Massanutten occasionally, sometimes with one of her own children. She also helped teach the Primary Sunday School Class.
“Elinor remains very active in many aspects of the work of our church,” Thelma Sanford noted in 1985. And she wasn't done yet. In 1989, Elinor joined the Orange Youth Commission and Council. Its purpose is to foster wholesome youth development and prevention of juvenile delinquency.
Orange Presbyterian Weekday School
In May 1978 Elinor Vasquez and Jean Berkman presented plans to the Session and Deacons. It was for a nursery school for the Orange community, located at OPC. The plan was approved.
The two women worked hard that summer. What would become the Orange Presbyterian Weekday School opened September 12th, 1978.
The school now offers the Elinor & Jean Scholarships for students in need. These scholarships were established in part by funds set aside by the Vasquez family. They honor the vision and many years of service to the school by these two women.
It was Elinor’s and Jean’s wish that children could be part of the preschool even when finances made it daunting. “It is our hope to honor their great tradition of love for all God’s children in establishing this scholarship” (Orange Presbyterian Weekday School)
Bob's community ministries
Bob Vasquez maintained a busy schedule at Woodberry Forest. In addition to teaching Spanish, he also served as a college counselor. Bob also taught summer school at Woodberry Forest.
The Christian Emergency Council opened a food pantry in Orange County in 1981. Bob participated by unloading food and stocking shelves.
He teamed up with Ben Johns, a teacher from Episcopal High School. The pair taught GED English and Spanish at the Orange Regional Jail.
In 2006, the Orange County Free Clinic formed. The clinic provides medical care and medication assistance for those in need. Today, there are 5,000 patients registered.
Bob has been volunteering at the clinic from its beginning. He checks in people and files paperwork. Bob also translates for Spanish-speaking patients,
Elinor passed away on June 27, 2019. She is survived by her husband, Bob, their children, their grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. Her service at OPC was just as it should be -- a church filled with many people she had touched with her love and kindness. Elinor St. Clair Vasquez was a force in the Orange Presbyterian Church and the Orange County community. We are so thankful.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team