About Elaine Goodale Whitbeck
Dr. Elaine Goodale Whitbeck, formerly of Kingston, died on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010, at Mercy Center, Dallas, where she has resided for the past seven years. She was a daughter of Sterling and Virginia Eastman Whitbeck, and was born in Northampton, Mass., on August 10, 1933.
Ellie graduated from Northampton High School in 1951 and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Smith College in 1955. She began her career as a chemist at Sprague Electric Co. She received her Master's Degree 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 Pennsylvania.
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 1981, she 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 Diplomate 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, Mass., died in March 2009. She is survived by nieces Virginia Clay Risk of Fremont, Calif.; Victoria Read Risk of San Jose, Calif.; Alice Goodale Timmons of Jamaica Plain, Mass.; Constance Caneel Tropper-Risk of Kibbutz Nachshon, Israel; nephews Alexander Spurr Risk of Cummington, Mass.; Douglas Sterling Risk of Pittsfield, Mass.; and cousin Patricia Perkins of Pittsford, N.Y.