Eleanor (Ele) Dex

On Thanksgiving afternoon, November 22, 2018, Eleanor (Ele) Dex, 82, passed away peacefully in her home after a prolonged illness.  Born on January 6, 1936, she was the daughter of the late James and Ruby Lee Lowrey.  She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC in 1953.  

Eleanor married the love of her life, Max J Dex Jr, on December 17, 1953.  They settled in McLean, Virginia.  She was a loving mother to Vicky Heishman and son-in-law Donald Heishman and devoted grandmother to David Heishman. She loved to visit with them in their home in the Shenandoah Valley for holidays, David’s school and sporting events and any other time she could.  

Eleanor had a long, exciting and varied career, advancing from a position as clerk typist at the age of 17, rising in responsible positions to become an Executive Secretary/Special Assistant for several high-ranking senior military/government/private industry officials.  She worked for those officials at the CIA, White House, National Security Council, NSA and TRW.  She also spent two years in Australia (1973-75) working for her husband who was serving as a United States Civilian employee.  She retired in 1995 and then served as the Volunteer Coordinator for VNA Community Hospice.  

Eleanor and Max spent many of their retirement years taking cruises, travelling in their RV (visiting every state except North Dakota), going to yard sales (and hosting yard sales) and visiting with family and friends.  Eleanor enjoyed spending time with her neighbors and, always the animal lover, acting as a ‘grandmother” to various neighborhood cats throughout the years.  

During their 64 years together, it was rare to ever see Max and Eleanor apart. They advocated for, loved on and supported each other in every situation and always thought of the needs of the other before their own.  Their marriage was, and still is, an inspiration to many.

Capitol Caring hospice cared for Eleanor in her home to make her last days as comfortable as possible.  Paragon Health Home Care caregiver, Mila, spent Eleanor’s last few weeks with her providing wonderful care and support to both Eleanor and Max.  

Memorial donations may be made to “Paragon Home Care’s Community Assistance Fund” – www.paragonhomecare.com.

A celebration of Eleanor’s life will take place on Friday, December 7, 2018 from 6 – 8 p.m. (with a service at 6:30 p.m.) at Advent Funeral Home located at 7211 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA 22046.  She will be interred at a later date to be announced at Arlington National Cemetery.

Our family would love to read any memories or stories you would like to share about your memories of Eleanor.

12 Responses to Eleanor (Ele) Dex

  1. steve klitzman says:

    I was very sad to learn of the passing of Eleanor Dex. I first met her and her equally wonderful and devoted husband, Max Dex, I think in 2015. They joined the “Peripheral Neuropathy Support Group of Metro DC” which I’ve led since 2010. This is the only support group in the DMV area for those with PN, a nerve degeneration condition of the peripheral nerves, usually in the feet, legs and hands. We meet the first Sat . of every month from 2-4 pm at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003. For more information, please email [email protected] .

    Despite having this permanent condition, Max and Eleanor impressed all of us at our monthly meetings with their enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, and above all, warm caring for each other as well as fellow group members. We will all miss Eleanor greatly but will continue to welcome Max as a valued and valuable support group member, as was his beloved wife, Eleanor.

  2. Harry & Carol Ruth says:

    We are very sad to hear about Ele’s passing. We met Max and Eleanor in 1967 while working at CIA. We became close friends and had much fun tent camping at Smith Mountain Lake in the rain. Also investigated waterfront land at Lake Anna, Va and Ocean City Md., all while looking for the perfect deal (low price to save a penny). Max and I spent a frightful day crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay and brought the crabs home for Ele and Carol to cook (while almost drowning in the Chesapeake). We also went out on their fantastic sailing boat in the Chesapeake Bay. Max and I spent many evenings playing poker, while the girls stayed at home and kept the home front safe, We also hosted them at our Lake Anna house, with their grandson David (who became quite a jet-skier). In recent years we also purchased a house in The Villages, Florida where Max and Ele eventually rented a house and became familiar with all the thousands of activities here. With Ele’s help over a two year time period about 7 years ago, we finally got Max to buy a computer and give up his pencil and paper (his old standby). Ele and I also tried without success to get Max to give up his flip top phone and acquaint him with a smart phone. We will miss Ele and her thoughtful and caring personality. Hang in their Max and keep the faith. Friends always, Harry & Carol

  3. Charles and Helen Heishman says:

    Eleanor was such a lovely lady, and such an important part of our family. We will miss her more than words can express. We will always remember her devotion to Max, and love for her family. Thank you for so many wonderful times together.

  4. Mike Foxworth says:

    So sad. I also met Max and Eleanor in 2015 at the PN support group. I was always impressed by their generosity and the wonderful questions and comments they both contributed. Reading the above life description, I see how easy it is for me to view people through the lens of their current condition and not ask “who ARE these people?” As I feel my own symptoms pressing down on I cannot help wondering how Max will adapt. I would not wish to face each day without my wife. I wish there was a way to meet more often to share the journey.

    Eleanor’s battle with intense pain seemed to begin in late 2016. She attributed the change to PN. I was puzzled. I compared my own experience of relatively mild PN pain with Eleanor’s shared descriptions of her struggle with pain. Why the difference? I know of no science on person-to-person physical differences in pain signaling from the common forms of PN most of us have (I don’t know what type Eleanor had). Thinking about this, especially with respect to Eleanor, sparked me to dig deeper into my attitudes and knowledge about pain. Trying to understand Elenore’s battle with pain was an essential contributor to helping me and my wife understand the battles my wife has with chronic pain. Looking back in light of that new understanding, I suspect Eleanor’s other health conditions simply made dealing with PN symptoms overwhelmingly difficult.

    In any case, the net result has been a dramatic improvement to our own marriage. We have joined what I am sure is a long list of others who owe both of them a great debt.

  5. Randall Dex Weidner says:

    I have known her my whole life, because she is my beloved Aunt Ele. I can’t imagine not having her in my life because she has always been there. When I was born, her husband, my Uncle Max was named my Godfather. So together they were my godparents. Aunt Ele always sent a beautifully worded birthday card with that exquisite cursive handwriting. She never missed a year.

    As a youngster, I always thought of her as glamorous and classy, with a joyful laugh and giggle that always made you feel good. We would see her, Uncle Max and Vicky on our annual summer vacations to visit my grandparents. On one of those vacations when she worked in the White House she actually was able to let us peek inside the Oval Office. Ele and Max also visited our family in my boyhood home in Houston. But what was even more special was as an adult they visited me and my spouse in San Diego and then again in Palm Springs in California. But the icing on the cake was the invitation to stay in their home when we visited Washington DC a little over two years ago.

    I knew she was having health issues at the time (as was I), but she never showed it. She generously even loaned me her transport wheelchair for our daily sightseeing trips into the District of Columbia. She and Max would pick us up at the metro station near their home at the end of every day. We would return to their home in the evening and over a small glass of wine would share with her and Max what we had done that day. She seemed to enjoy hearing our stories.

    I am unable to attend on Friday, but know that I am there in spirit, and that my memories of Aunt Ele are forever with me.

    Love to Uncle Max and my cousin Vicky.

  6. Guy Michel says:

    I met Eleanor and Max during a period of time when I was helping my aunt, Doris Gibbons, deal with end stage lung cancer. Despite her own illness, Eleanor and Max often visited Doris and kept in constant touch with me during her hospice stay. She and Max are very special to my wife and I, and I am so glad I met her and got to know her a bit prior to her passing. I cannot make it up to the service, but my wife Dawn will be there. The thoughts and prayers of the Michel family are with you and your family, Max.

  7. Jim and Lisa Potocki says:

    Our whole family loved Eleanor so much. She and Max are always thought of as cherished neighbors and friends. Like everyone else in their orbit, we could clearly see the lifelong love affair of Max and Ele. We have so many memories: like when 9 year old Kevin went over to a yard sale to buy me a vacuum that Max and I had arranged a price on and Kevin asked Max if his “price was firm”-we all got a laugh out of that one-sharing a beer on a warm afternoon in the carport with our cat Pumpkin happily lounging with Eleanor on her chaise lounge (and smelling like her perfume), the neighborhood picnics, the sidewalk conversations, the good advice and support for young homeowners and parents. For all of this and so much more, we are very grateful for the life of Eleanor Dex.

  8. Patty Page says:

    Although it has been a few weeks since Ele’s passing, I continue to feel her presence. She was a strong and direct person with a loving and caring heart.

    I knew Ele from TRW….. she was always nice to me but she did guard the henhouse like a fox and some feared her. I always felt she was excellent in her position and performed the job for which she was hired…protecting “big bad John”!!!

    There is a group of “girls” (Ele’s term) that would periodically meet for lunch throughout the year. (Note: should this continue, Ele will always have a seat at the table….. bloody mary included!) I was invited to join the group in 2010 and that is when our personal relationship began.

    We spoke frequently about all subjects….recipes, health, family, politics, and day-to-day life issues. I will miss those conversations…. but I will continue to talk to her!!!

    A few of us would meet for lunch more frequently. Initially we would pick Ele up, eat lunch, and drop her off at her home. Then Ele insisted Max drive her to the restaurant. Max would run an errand, grab lunch at another restaurant, and then patiently wait outside for Ele to finish her outing. Not too long ago, we met at Coastal Flats, Max went to Costco, and then parked in front of the restaurant. After 4 hours of girl time, we were ready to leave. Max had been in the car, radio on, and the battery died. So the 4 of us sat on the bench in front of the restaurant waiting for AAA. We had a very good and long visit….yes, it was good!!!! Remarkable how Ele and Max were so pleasant and carefree about the situation. A very loving couple!!!!

    In mid October, we had our last lunch together. The restaurant was close to my house. When I arrived, Ele said sternly, you live the closest and your last to arrive…I responded that we agreed to meet at 1:00 and it is 1:00… she responded, it’s 1:02 by my watch!!!!
    Most importantly, our 2 hour visit was good (we could tell she was not feeling well), and before departing, she gave us a long hug and told us that would be the last time she would see us. And it was!

    We spoke several times after and when we wanted to see her she said please don’t come. She didn’t want us to see her without her makeup. Her beautiful polished look was always so important!

    She loved Max with all her heart and he loved her more. Her daughter Vicky and Don (son-in-law) and David (grandson) were her pride and joy. That is a well-known feeling!

    Rest in peace Ele….I will miss you dearly!

  9. Dan and Rocio Sainz says:

    As next-door neighbors, we greatly miss Eleanor, but feel fortunate to have known a woman with such spirit and grace. The memorial service was a beautiful remembrance of a beautiful person, and it was wonderful to see how many lives she had touched. Perhaps one of the speakers captured Eleanor best when she spoke about how fiercely Eleanor loved her family. We neighbors also were warmed by her affection and her readiness to share a bottle of wine and a little fun. We were inspired by her adventurousness, shown through a lifetime of demanding jobs and cross-country motor home treks, and by her life-long love of Max.

  10. Elizabeth Appel Lexa says:

    Ele and I first became friends at Janney School, in first grade. We had a big group of girls, who were in Girl Scouts together and attended each other birthday parties. Mary Dwyer had access to a beach house, which we went to when a mother could take us. Ele’s best friend was Pat Ellison. At Wilson High School, some of us went into different activities, but we stayed friends, attended each others weddings etc.

    Ele and Max and my husband, Frank, and I had some nice visits through the years.

    I will miss my old friend Ele. I guess I am the last of that group from Janney. It was a great time.

  11. Doug and Elizabeth Weidner says:

    Aunt Ele, you will be dearly missed. One of the benefits of our move from Texas to North Carolina in 2001 was that it brought us half a day drive from Aunt Ele and Uncle Max. This allowed much more frequent visits, and we really got to know our dear Aunt and Uncle and find out what loving and caring people they are. They made several trips to visit us when they had their camper (what better situation could you ask for than to have visitors bring their own bedroom!) After my dad had his stroke in 2001 and then passed on in 2008, Uncle Max became my “go-to” guy when I needed advice on fix-it projects around the house. A few days before they would hit the road, Aunt Ele would call and ask what fix-it projects I was planning to have Uncle Max help with so they would be sure to pack the proper tools. We had so much fun with them on each visit, and when happy hour arrived, Aunt Ele would prepare Uncle Max and I our gin and tonics and herself a vodka and tonic…. the same scenario would also occur during our visits to their place under their cozy car port after a long day visiting the museums.
    I reiterate what brother Randall above said about Aunt Ele’s vigilance with birthday cards…. she made sure not only ourselves but our son and both daughters got their birthday cards on time, and she also sent us an anniversary card every year! This past summer Aunt Ele had been in the hospital around the time of our birthdays (which are two weeks apart) and missed our birthdays …… but within a week we each got our Jacquie Lawson E-cards!
    Aunt Ele, we were so blessed that we were able to attend your memorial service in early December and hear from so many of your friends, neighbors and work mates stories of their wonderful experiences with you and we learned a lot of things about you we didn’t know. Thank you for being such a wonderful part of our lives, and we know you will be dearly missed by all who were fortunate enough to have known you!

  12. Steve Willey says:

    Vicky, I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of your mom. It has been many years and the memories have faded but there was never any contention. Hope that all is well with you and your family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *