Elinor McDade

1922 - April 11, 2012

    Elinor Tibbets Van Ingen McDade, a yoga teacher and the owner of the Goat Alley Gallery in Sag Harbor, died at Stony Brook University Medical Center on April 11 following a massive brain hemorrhage.
    With her husband, Robert McDade, who predeceased her, Mrs. McDade operated the gallery, named after an old local moniker, for 23 years, living upstairs.
    Every Monday morning, she taught a yoga class there for numerous local women and a few men. She “kept them limber, fit, and in touch with local happenings,” Nan Orshefsky, a friend, said.
    The gallery was also home to the popular annual “725” show for artists with Sag Harbor phone numbers.
    Mrs. McDade had a wide range of interests. She loved music and dancing — from jazz to opera and ballet — and kept a small garden full of seasonal flowers and feeders for birds and squirrels.
    More than anything else, her friends said, she loved the water and snorkeling. Her beach chair, positioned midway along the stretch of sand at Long Beach in Noyac, was a regular gathering place for her many friends on sunny afternoons from mid-May through October.
    She was a supporter of the Animal Rescue Fund, the Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons, East End Hospice, and, in Sag Harbor, the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library and the Sag Harbor Historical Society.
    Born in Seattle in 1922, she grew up on the West Coast. After moving to California, she worked during World War II for Boeing Aircraft. An early marriage ended in divorce.
    In the 1950s, she joined the United States State Department and was sent to Vietnam. It was where she met her future husband, Col. Robert McDade, who was stationed there with the Army.
    From Saigon she went to Paris, where she worked as executive assistant to Ambassador Amory Houghton, and she again crossed paths with Colonel McDade.
    When Mr. Houghton returned to the States, he asked her to work for him in New York City, at Steuben Glass.
    While in the city she also worked as a model and started painting witty miniatures of small animals. Animals such as elephants and giraffes were the subjects of her paintings on large canvases.
    Later, she discovered and fell in love with Sag Harbor. She and Colonel McDade bought a house on High Street, where they were married in 1974.
    The couple lived in Panama for two years when Colonel McDade was appointed second in command at a Canal Zone Army base. Mrs. McDade began teaching yoga to Army wives there and collected appliqué molas made by the Huna women of the San Blas Islands.
    Upon Colonel McDade’s retirement, they returned to Sag Harbor and opened the gallery at 200 Division Street.
    Mrs. McDade was cremated, and her ashes will be scattered at a later date. A selection of her paintings will be shown during a farewell reception at the Goat Alley Gallery on Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.