In Memoriam: Elise Bancroft McQuaid

November 12, 1932 – December 7, 2022

Elise Bancroft McQuaid | November 12, 1932 - December 7, 2022
Elise Bancroft McQuaid | November 12, 1932 – December 7, 2022

The world has lost a great lady. Elise Bancroft McQuaid died on December 7, aged 90 years old.  She was surrounded by her family: husband and best friend, C. Murray McQuaid; children David, Matilda, Anna and Patricia; grandchildren Ben and Lisey, and nephew Bill. Six other grandchildren – Alex, Jack, Matylda, Matthew, Ravenel and Hiraani – along with nephew Douglas, nieces Lori,  Anne, Susan, Tricia, and grandnieces Elisabetta and Katy, were there in spirit. Her precious dogs, Fly and Flea Roy, were appropriately underfoot.

Elise was born November 12, 1932, in Albany, Georgia, where she lived with her older sister, Patricia, her mother, Anna Lange, and stepfather, Winthrop Bancroft, until 1946, when they moved to Jacksonville, Florida. She attended Bartram School and then transferred to St. Anne’s in Charlottesville, Virginia. She graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in 1954.  A chance meeting of mothers, Anna Bancroft and Henrietta McQuaid, led to Murray accompanying Elise to her debut in 1951. Despite boyfriends along the way, Murray won Elise over and they married on April 28, 1956.

Elise was a devoted wife, mother, friend, teacher, and volunteer.  She was a member of the Junior League and served on the board of the Children’s Home Society in Jacksonville.  During the time Elise and Murray lived in Miami, Florida in the early 1970s, she dedicated herself to the Save the Palm Society, a not-for-profit organization she started in response to the yellow blight that was swiftly robbing Florida of the picturesque Jamaican Tall palm trees that graced beaches, parks and streets. With help from plant enthusiast Paul A. Drummond and many tree sales along the way, Miami was replanted with Malayan Dwarf Palms resistant to the disease.  For her extraordinary efforts, Elise received the Fairchild Tropical Garden’s prestigious Montgomery medal. 

Elise McQuaid was a humanitarian in the truest sense of the word, selfless and generous of time and devotion. A master networker and lover of all people, she was always interested in others and humble to a fault, with no trace of ego or pique.

We will miss you, Elise and Mom, but we know that you have left this world a better place.

At her request funeral services will not be held; a celebration of her life will be planned later. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Children’s Home Society of Florida ( or to a charity of your choice. Funeral Home: Schnauss Northeast Funeral Home & Cremation Services; 904.683.9288 (for verification)

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